Simulator shakes residents into readiness

UVic Shake Zone features earthquake information and action

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell

Christine van Reeuwyk

Oak Bay News

Oak Bay residents had a taste of the big one without an actual earthquake in the University of Victoria’s Shake Zone near the McPherson library last week.

The Shake Zone simulator touring Greater Victoria seats three and simulates an 8.0 earthquake complete with sound and video showing what that magnitude quake might look like in the streets.

“I’m still wobbly from that experience, it was kind of like one of the extreme rides at the Tea Party except scarier, particularly when you saw the video of what could come flying at you in a room like that is very realistic in terms of the damage it can cause,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.

The countertop in the simulator looks much like a student’s desk might, featuring secured items such as a desktop computer, microscope and chemistry beakers containing fluid.

“It’s certainly a great learning tool for our residents to have an opportunity to experience this without having to experience one, that’s the intent,” said Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle, also president of Shakeout BC. “A lot of people have been saying ‘I wasn’t prepared for this.’”

Jensen suggested the simulator will shake people into action.

“It’s a scary experience and it’s very surprising the violence of the movement,” said Jensen. “I think anyone who’s gone through this, the next step after this will be to go out and make sure they have all of the necessary safety equipment at home and they’re prepared at home. That’s really part of this is to raise awareness. People have to be prepared. If we get a shaker like this one there’s going to be damage everywhere inside and outside the house, so we need to be prepared.”

Alongside the free “ride” in the simulator the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Vancouver Island Search and Disaster Dog Association with live search dog demonstrations, Canadian Red Cross, Oak Bay Emergency Program, Ocean Networks Canada sharing the science happening at UVic toward earthquake early warning, Saanich Emergency Program, ShakeOutBC, PreparedBC, FortisBC and a host of UVic departments shared emergency information.

The simulator heads for Duncan May 26 and continues to make its way north.

Visit for the full schedule.

Learn more about the Oak Bay Emergency Program at under the public safety tab.