Next Thursday at 10:18 a.m. hundreds of Campbell River students will put their earthquake preparedness skills to the test in the “Great British Columbia Shakeout,” part of a global campaign to reduce the human toll of major earthquakes.
Everywhere in British Columbia is considered at high earthquake risk in relation to the rest of Canada. In January 1700, a magnitude nine earthquake shook the entire province as well as Washington, Oregon, and California, and generated a massive tsunami. It was similar to the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake off the coast of Japan.
On Oct. 18 thousands of British Columbians will be participating with citizens and students in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Guam, Puerto Rico and Southern Italy making it the biggest earthquake drill in history. The date and time was chosen by a group of school representatives as an ideal timeframe for a student earthquake drill.
Campbell River Support Services Team spokesperson Lorraine Hart says: “Increased awareness about what to do during an earthquake reduces injuries and deaths and limits the number of people requiring immediate assistance from first responders.”
Hart says a team of local Emergency Support Services volunteers has been visiting local businesses to provide earthquake awareness coaching.
What to do:
- You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down or drops something on you. If you are inside a building move no more than a few steps then drop, cover and hold on.
- Drop to the ground before the earthquake drops you, cover by getting under a desk or table, and hold on until the shaking stops.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit.
- If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines.
- If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
- Most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking. Identify safe places such as under a sturdy piece of furniture or against an interior wall in your home, office or school so that when the shaking starts you can respond quickly. An immediate response to move to the safe place can save lives. Your safe place should be within a few steps to avoid injury from flying debris.
What not to do:
- Do not get in a doorway. The belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake is a modern myth. Get under a table instead.
- Do not run outside. Trying to run in an earthquake is dangerous, as the ground is moving, and you can easily fall or be injured by debris or glass. Running outside is especially dangerous, as glass, bricks, or other building components may be falling. You are much safer to stay inside.
Campbell River residents and businesses can participate in the Great B.C. Shakeout by registering at www.shakeoutbc.ca. Registration is important because it allows emergency services personnel to know how many people are being educated.