Downtown Campbell River residents to participate in ‘Shake Out and Get Out’ drill

Drop, cover, hold on, count to 60 and get out of the flood zone on Oct. 19

For the Great Shakeout exercise this year downtown Campbell Riverites are asked to register and participate in a Campbell River specific “Shake Out and Get Out” drill.

“In most areas of North America it’s drop, cover, hold on until the shaking stops, wait 60 seconds after the shaking stops and if there are no after shocks, start to safely evacuate the building,” said Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator for the Strathcona Regional District. “In Campbell River, if you are beneath the dam, Shake Out means drop, cover, hold on until the shaking stops, wait 60 seconds and then get out of the flood zone in case the dams fail and inundate a large portion of Campbell River with 11 to four metres of water.”

Koopman, as well as Kathryn Alexander, director of Campbell River Emergency Support Services, decided that further public education about the flood zone was needed when they saw the results of the Emergency Preparedness Survey earlier this year.

Though 80 per cent of people knew there was danger of flooding in downtown Campbell River if there was an earthquake, not many of them could point out on a map the areas that would be affected, Koopman said.

“Drills and training, they are crucial for emergency response,” he said. “We are always doing these with our first responders and emergency program organizations, but it is also important that the public (practice) as well.”

On Thursday, Oct. 19, registered participants are asked to drop, cover and hold at 10:19 a.m. for four minutes, count to 60 and then evacuate from the area to the nearest checkpoint either on foot or by bicycle.

In the case of an actual earthquake the roads would be too damaged to drive on and the power lines would be down Koopman said, everyone would need to walk or bike.

Campbell River Emergency Support Services volunteers will be stationed at five check points on evacuation routes: The Maritime Heritage Centre, City Hall, Ecole-Phoenix Middle School, Woodburn Rd. and Spring Rd. and 9th Avenue and Ironwood.

Though the flood zone is much larger than just downtown Campbell River, Koopman said they wanted to keep the drill small and manageable this time.

“We really tried to focus on the heavily populated area in Campbell River to start which is south of the Highway 19A bridge,” he said.

BCHydro is on board with the drill and has been working with the city and the regional district to provide proactive emergency response preparedness within the community since 2014, though Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said the potential for dam failure is an interim risk as BCHydro has plans to seismically upgrade the facilities.

“BC Hydro has a capital plan to upgrade the facilities over the next 10-20 years,” he said. “BC Hydro is currently working on proposed seismic upgrade projects at the Strathcona Dam and the John Hart Dam, and both may begin as early as 2021.”

Those who live or work in the downtown area and would like to participate in the drill can register with Koopman at skoopman@srd.ca or by calling 250-830-6702.

By registering, participants will be covered through liability insurance and WorkSafe BC coverage as the event had a training task number through Emergency Management BC.

To register and participate you must be able bodied and physically able to evacuate, wear the coloured apron that will be provided to identify you as a participant and carry a cellphone.

Participants will be entered to win an emergency preparedness prize.