Sherwood Moore surveys some of his extensive emergency supplies

Qualicum Beach man seems ready for ‘The Big One’

Emergency program coordinator says the Island's limited three-day supply of food could also complicate things

How prepared are you?

“Every time another incident happens, like the earthquake the other day, people think about it,” said Sherwood Moore.

“Sherwood is nothing if not prepared,” said friend Keith Smith after the 4.7 magnitude quake north of Victoria Dec. 29, suggesting more people should follow his example.

“They say people should be able to look after themselves for 72 hours, but every major instance shows that’s totally inadequate, it can be more like weeks, or even months,” Moore said on a recent tour of his preparations which include things as simple as a well stocked pantry.

Moore has made sure his family is prepared ever since he was a co-director of the volunteer Emergency Social Services group in Qualicum Beach for years starting in the 1990s.

He agrees with the experts who say having a grab-and-go bag is one of the easiest and most important steps, pointing out there are suggested lists easily available online and through local emergency services like the fire department.

But if people do nothing else, they should make sure to have extra food and water on hand for a potentially long wait for help. He also said any amount of thinking and planning for a disaster is better than none.

With local and regional governments actively working on large-scale emergency plans and cooperative efforts, they still stress that in the case of a major disaster they will not be able to get to every house in a timely manner.

“This should serve as a good wake-up for people,” said Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department Chief Nick Acciavatti explaining, “our department is strictly volunteers, most emergency services around here except the police and EMS are volunteers and in the event of an emergency they may have to look after their own families before they can even try getting in here.”

Parksville Emergency Program Coordinator Aaron Dawson agreed and added that the Island’s limited three day supply of food could also complicate things.

And while the timing of an event is unknown, there is no doubt something will happen.

“The big one… will happen, that’s the one thing we can be sure about,” Stephen Johnson, geologist and director of the UVic School of Earth and Ocean Sciences previously told The NEWS.

“It could happen right now while we’re talking, it could happen in 400 years,” he said, meaning people should be prepared now, especially since at least one study put the chances at 30 per cent in the next 50 years.

For that eventuality, Moore’s preparations include things like enough water and non-perishable food for his wife and daughter for a month, which they carefully rotate to use the old stock, emergency supplies in their car and supplies stashed around the house for easy access.

He suggests looking up a detailed list, but suggests grab bag priorities include medication, warm clothes, hand warmers, food, water, toiletries and plastic bags, “the greatest blessing and worst scourge of mankind.”

Moore — and many dedicated local volunteers like him — are a wealth of knowledge and expertise, happily giving tips to anyone who will listen, but at age 85 and no longer active with the group, he said they are always looking for energetic new volunteers.

Prepared B.C. ( is a good source of information and check with the Regional District of Nanaimo ( or 250-390-4111) or your local municipality or fire department for more local information.

Contact Emergency Social Services at or 250-937-0448.

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