SoCal prepares for 'The Big One'

FULLERTON, Calif. The shakeout will be the largest local quake drill in California history.

Something called the "Quake Cottage" sat on the Cal State Fullerton Campus on Monday, simulating an 8.2-magnitude earthquake. It was an effort to give students a better grasp on earthquake preparedness.

"I couldn't imagine standing somewhere and being able to hold onto something, like even trying to hold on with my feet. Trying to steady ... It was difficult," said Christal Ruiz, a Cal State Fullerton student.

The simulator only lasts about 10 seconds, but seismologists say a real temblor along the San Andreas Fault could last 60 seconds or more.

The campus is holding a "Shake out, don't freak out, get ready" rally in advance of Thursday's massive drill involving millions of Californians.

"We definitely have students who haven't experienced an earthquake before ... Even some Southern Californians that haven't really experienced an earthquake that they can remember," said David Bowman, CSUF seismologist. "This is a real chance for them to learn what's going on."

Students learned to drop, cover and hold on, advice everyone needs to follow.

"We're about 150 years overdue. So it's supposed to be anytime soon, but we just don't know exactly when," said student D.J. Arabian. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, it's going to be a small little thing.' No, it's going to be a huge earthquake."

Having food, water and a flashlight on hand are some of the basics every Californian needs. But there are two important items that the people at Quake Cottage say should be stored in your bedroom.

"In a really strong earthquake like this magnitude, an 8.0, the building shifts. So you might not be able to get your door open. That's why you need a crowbar," said Trish Granholm, Quake Cottage. "As you're leaving your bedroom, you might find a small fire. If you've got that fire extinguisher in your bedroom with you, you've got it in hand and you can put out a small fire before it becomes a big one."

Cal State Fullerton hopes that by giving students helpful information now, they will be ready not only for Thursday's statewide drill, but for a real earthquake in the future.

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