Biggest drill in state history will simulate 9.0 earthquake

VIDEO: Crews preparing for 'big one'

A large-scale drill is happening this week as rescue crews and numerous agencies prepare for a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

The exercise, called Cascadia Rising, will be the biggest earthquake simulation in state history.

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This drill will simulate a 9.0 Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami.

Thousands of people are going to be involved in this test exercise. The base of the operation is near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

  • Monday afternoon, the Washington National Guard will arrive on Vashon Island with landing craft to simulate delivering supplies.
  • On Tuesday, top leaders, including the governor, will tour the state emergency operations center.
  • On Wednesday, the governor tours Mason County's emergency operations center as national guardsmen practice earthquake response.
  • On Thursday, soldiers will be in Blackhawk helicopters dropping supplies and testing how they would set up a mobile communications center.
  • On Friday, there will be a ribbon cutting for a first-of-its kind tsunami evacuation shelter.

The Seattle Times reports that an estimated 15,000 people could die in such an earthquake and the resulting tsunami and that towns along the coast could disappear.

FEMA is the agency taking the lead on the drill.