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Let's get ready to rumble! - Kitsap Rumble 2010 to test preparedness for a big one

Though it may sound like the West Sound's version of a battle of the bands, Kitsap Rumble 2010 is a full scale emergency response exercise.

At exactly 10 a.m. on Sept. 22, the ground won't be shaking but close to several hundred people will be reacting as though an 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Puget Sound region. The exercise is provided by the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management with schools, fire departments and businesses participating as well.

"We're trying to overwhelm the system," said Susan May, spokeswoman for the department. She gave an example that a hospital emergency room can only handle so many injured people and that this drill would test that.

Past preparedness exercises have simulated pandemics and terrorist attacks. The last earthquake drill was in 2007 and was a tabletop exercise held at one site.

The last notable earthquake to hit Kitsap County was on June 16, 2002 with a magnitude of 3.7, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Nisqually earthquake of 2001 was a 6.8 magnitude quake that injured about 400 people between Seattle to Olympia.

Exercises will take anywhere from two to six hours. "Some will have you drop, cover and hold," said May. "Others may have major incidents at their site."

An airplane crash has been planned to take place at the Bremerton National Airport and a response to a hazardous materials spill is expected at Olympic High School.

This story has been corrected.

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