The earthquake that struck off the coast of Vancouver Island December 29 reminds us that we live in an active earthquake zone and need to be prepared.
Throughout British Columbia more than 1,200 earthquakes are recorded each year and an earthquake capable of causing structural damage is expected once every decade.
Fortunately, in North America, building practices and construction material are such that the majority of injuries in a Lower Mainland earthquake would likely be caused by non-structural damage, such as broken glass, falling debris and unsecured items.
Knowing how to DROP, COVER and HOLD during shaking in an earthquake will go a long way to keeping you safe.
The best way to protect yourself and others from flying and falling debris during an earthquake is to DROP, COVER and HOLD. When the shaking starts:
- Drop under a sturdy desk, table or piece of furniture
- Cover your face, head and neck
- Hold onto the legs of the furniture and hold this position while counting to 60
More ‘routine’ events such as wind and snow storms, power outages, transportation disruptions and boil water orders are far more likely to affect our region. Taking a few simple steps to prepare can significantly reduce risk and lessen the impact of any emergency. To get started:
- Organize an emergency supply kit at home and at work, including a 3-day supply of food and water, essential medications, flashlights, and battery-operated radio.
- Store the kit in a portable container in an accessible location, in case you need to evacuate your home.
- Designate an emergency out-of-area contact. In the event local communications lines are damaged, it may still be possible to call a friend or family member who lives outside the earthquake zone.
- Everyone in the family can call the out-of-area contact to check in and let them know they are okay.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt to mitigate avoidable risks at home and at work.