The John Hart Dam and John Hart reservoir. BC Hydro photo

Drop, cover, hold and evacuate during the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Campbell River will also practice evacuating flood zone

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m., millions of people worldwide will drop, cover and hold for the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.

However, residents of Campbell River will be including an extra measure in the emergency exercise.

The third annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill is based on scenario earthquakes that could affect the community if they were to actually take place. This exercise is an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, businesses and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes and to improve preparedness.

“This exercise focuses on the area at potential risk in the event of a dam failure after a major earthquake,” says Strathcona Regional District Chair Michele Babchuk. “After the standard drop-cover-and-hold practice drill, residents in Campbell River will be asked to evacuate parts of the city and head for higher ground.”

The potential risk of a dam failure from a severe earthquake at the John Hart Dam or Strathcona Dam is an interim risk until BC Hydro seismically upgrades these facilities.

“Our large capital projects are going through the planning stages and they may begin construction in 2023/2024,” says BC Hydro Stakeholder Engagement Advisor Stephen Watson. “The heavily populated downtown area is especially at risk, so after the severe shaking stops people should immediately move out of the evacuation area for their safety.”

Advantages of participating in the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill:To stay safe, review the map and time how long it takes you to get outside the potential flood area. Have a plan to leave the area within 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on your location.

Test evacuation action required in the event of an emergency.

Know the boundaries of the potential flood zone.

Know all possible evacuation routes.

On Thursday October 17, Shakeout participants located in the post-earthquake inundation area in Campbell River are invited to:10:17 am – Drop, Cover and Hold underneath a desk for 2 minutes.

After the “shaking” stops, count to 60 and then begin your evacuation.

10:21 am – Evacuate to one of the 5 checkpoints on foot or by bicycle.

Register to enter a prize draw and then return to your original location.

Checkpoint locations (outside under a tent):The Maritime Heritage Centre (621 Island Hwy)

Volunteer Campbell River (900 Alder St)

École-Phoenix Middle School (400 7 Ave)

Woodburn Rd. & Spring Rd.

9th Avenue & Ironwood Rd.

At 11:30 a.m. – checkpoints will be closed.

Participants are asked to not go into École-Phoenix Middle School or the Maritime Heritage Centre. The five checkpoints chosen would not be setup following a real earthquake as they are just for this exercise due to their close proximity to the perimeter of the inundation zone, their spaciousness (ability to accommodate a tent and table) and are considered safe from traffic.

“Having drills once a year in homes and workplaces can help to establish what to do in times of crisis” says SRD Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman. “It is vital for businesses, as all employees need to know exactly what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency”.

For more information on earthquake preparedness or to learn more about your community’s emergency plans and maps please visit

The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services to approximately 44,000 residents.

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