OUR VIEW: Just a matter of when

Earthquakes: Most people are far from ready for “the Big One”

According to Earthquakes Canada, in the last month, between Dec. 29 and Jan.28, southwest British Columbia had 79 earthquakes.

OK, so you didn’t feel any of them. Most of those little tremours were less than a magnitude of 3.0. But while they may be out of sight and out of mind, the constant jiggling of B.C.’s natural ground forces is good reason to get ready for when the shiver becomes a serious grinder.

And that fact was the whole point of the recent Shake Out practice.

British Columbia clearly leads the way in having the most and the biggest earthquakes in the nation. According to Natural Resources Canada, about 5,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada each year and of the top 10 earthquakes nationally, six have happened in this province.

The mother of them all was a magnitude 9.0 quake on Jan. 26, 1700 in the Cascadia subduction zone.

According to research, 13 great earthquakes have occurred in the region in the last 6,000 years, about one in every 400 or so years. Statistically, we are over 300 years into the potential for the next great quake.

In the last 130 years, we have had four magnitude 7+ earthquakes between southwestern B.C. and northern Washington.

To be self-sufficient and ready to go it alone for at least 72 hours after the earthquake hits means having a plan for everyone in the family, a grab-ready emergency kit at home, at work and in the car, a back-up plan and an out-of-town (or out of province) contact number of a relative or friend who everyone can relay messages to in the event communications are down.

Most people, though, are far from earthquake ready – in a province where a major earthquake could strike 50 years from now. Or tomorrow.

– Black Press

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