The question often asked is "Are we overdue for an earthquake"?
After viewing the media coverage of the unprecedented wind storm earlier this year which saw over 500,000 homes in Vancouver, B.C. without power for several days, perhaps it is time to put together an Emergency Kit or update and refresh the one you have. We have been free of major earthquake damage for hundreds of years and perhaps have become complacent. Here are three thoughts of what to put together if "the big one hits"
1. What to Do in an Earthquake
- It's not just yourself but also those who depend on you, such as children, parents, pets and neighbours who need help.
- There should be a clear understanding who takes care of whom in a disaster so there is no confusion and duplication which could waste valuable time.
- Children in particular may be in shock and fearful.
- Consider that after a high Richter scale earthquake there may be severe after quakes to deal with.
2. Wherever you may be - disaster can strike
You may be at work, while children are at school or daycare; driving in your vehicle; or on a family vacation. Be prepared.
A power outage at any time can last 2 to 3 days as we experienced last summer (2015). It is advisable to have enough food, water, and emergency supplies to be totally self-sufficient for 3 or more days. As one person interviewed after the storm commented she could not get any cash to buy food as the automatic bank machine was not working. During a power outage many facilities will not work such as skytrain, elevators and escalators. Earthquake damage and power outages will disrupt public transport and there will be traffic congestion on major traffic routes especially if major damage occurs.
3. Here's a short list - add to suit personal needs
- Each family member should know what to do during and after a quake
- Establish an easily accessible family meeting place
- Know the nearest evacuation routes, and an alternative
- Find a safe area in your home and at work to take cover during the earthquake staying away from items which may fall
- If your home is not safe, know your closest overnight shelter; medical facility
- Important: Pack and take your prescription and other medication i.e. Epipen, oxygen, puffer, daily medication
- Have an emergency kit in your car and at home
- If not in place, organize Earthquake Emergency procedures at your place of work
Shake Out - Drop Cover and Hold on
- October 15, 2015 at 10:15 a.m. was the province wide and International Shake Out drill for an earthquake and drill with about ¾ million people participating province-wide. The next BC Shake Out drill will be held on the October 20, 2016.
- A Knowledge network movie with the headline grabbing title of "Monster quake are we next?" was very sobering to watch and brings home the effects of a high magnitude earthquake in a city even if you are well prepared.
I hope this information, though limited, has been of some help in sorting out what to do in an extended disaster before it happens. Next earthquake, or weather disaster, be organized so that you are not one of the many who say "what do we do?" There are excellent resources for information; on how to assemble, or where to buy an earthquake emergency kit. Go over lists of options for any disaster with your children and family including seniors. Please take the time to put together at least the bare necessities of an Earthquake Emergency Kit. Best to plan and be ready for fire, flood or earthquake!
At 11:40 pm on December 29, 2015 an earthquake of 4.8 magnitude was recorded just north of Sidney B.C. with the effect felt throughout the Fraser Valley and in Washington, USA. The same day there was a quake in California (south) and in Alaska (north). The two major faults in this area are the Cascadia Fault along the Pacific Northwest coast, and the massive San Andreas Fault. October 2015 NASA report on LA quakes and risks.
Links & References
- Earthquake Fact or Fiction -USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
- Government of Canada Get Prepared emergency kit
- Province of BC Emergency Preparedness Kits for the Home
- Emergency Manage BC Provincial planning
- Disaster Response routes Province of BC
- City of Abbotsford Emergency program
- UBC Emergency procedures
- City of Vancouver Disaster Response routes
- Information for fire emergency
- A Motor Vehicle Emergency Kit: How to plan a winters drive across southern BC
- An in-depth "indispensable emergency guide" "Earthquake - Preparing for the big One - British Columbia" by Graem Castell, 2002, Pacific Rim Earthquake Preparedness Program Ltd., Vancouver, Canada
A last word:
Contact city office or police where you live for evacuation and earthquake information.