Parksville Qualicum Beach participation in Great BC ShakeOut Drill encouraged

Aim is to create public awareness of hazards, preparedness

Parksville Qualicum Beach residents are encouraged by Emergency Management Oceanside to participate in the annual Great BC ShakeOut drill, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m.

In 2018, millions participated worldwide with 910,000 registered in B.C. and 206,302 on Vancouver Island. Participating creates an understanding of the importance of earthquake awareness and emergency preparedness.

An opportunity to practise how to be safe during earthquakes, residents and businesses are encouraged to register at http://shakeoutbc.ca to be counted in the drill and to obtain resources and information. Intended to create public awareness of earthquake hazards and encourage personal preparedness, participants Drop, Cover and Hold On for two minutes in response to a simulated earthquake event.

When a significant natural disaster occurs around the world, we realize how little we are, playing a small part on this constantly moving planet. We consider our infrastructure, or how prepared we are at home or at the office. We think about the people affected and speculate about what we, our co-workers, or our loved ones would do should a disaster occur.

B.C. is located in a seismically active region where a few thousand earthquakes occur each year in and adjacent to the province.

While potential earthquake hazards depend on location, everywhere in British Columbia is considered at high risk in relation to the rest of Canada. The threat of a major earthquake in the province is real; therefore, we should all know how to be prepared.

The BC Shakeout website has a wealth of information about how to participate and most importantly, how to perform the Drop, Cover and Hold On – a quake-safe action designed to protect people from objects that can become projectiles during ground shaking.

1. Drop, Cover and Hold On: Drop to the ground, take cover under a table or desk, and hold on to it as if a major earthquake were happening (stay down for at least 60 seconds). Practice now so that you will immediately protect yourself during an earthquake.

2. While still under the table, or wherever you are, look around and imagine what would happen in a major earthquake. What would fall on you or on others? What would be damaged? What would life be like after?

3. Finally, you can practise what you will do after the shaking stops.

Also provided on the website is a life safety drill designed to engage people to think through their own emergency response actions during the drill, then afterwards to review and discuss what worked or what did not, in order to make improvements for the next drill or an actual earthquake. The website also provides information on participating in the exercise at your workplace.

If you participated in previous ShakeOut drills, you may wish to consider some next steps after “drop, cover and hold on”.

When the shaking stops, stay in your place, count to 60 and if nothing has “fallen on you”, then it’s safe to evacuate.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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