Politicians joined town staff as they crouched under desks in Qualicum Beach town hall Oct. 20 as they took part in the Great Canadian Shakeout.
The earthquake drill is the second this year, the first taking place in January in an effort to make residents aware that, particularly on the West Coast, earthquakes of any magnitude can happen at any time.
Although January’s inaugural drill was considered a success, with more than 470,000 people taking part, organizers found the Jan. 26 date conflicted with students’ exams and opted to hold a second drill last Thursday.
This shakeout was particularly relevant, as it came just over a month after a magnitude 6.4 quake struck off the B.C. coast. While there were no injuries and very little damage caused by the quake, it served as a poignant reminder that large quakes don’t just happen to far away parts of the globe.
At the Qualicum Beach town hall, staff waited for the 10:20 a.m. start and then dived under their desks to ride out the imaginary tremblor, before conducting an orderly evacuation of the building.
A similar drill by Parksville municipal staff was also deemed a success.
Besides the basic message of duck, cover and hold on, ShakeOut organizers urged residents to conduct a hazard hunt for items that might fall during a quake, and secure them.
They were also urged to create a personal or family disaster-preparedness plan, in which the family’s specific needs can be met during the immediate post-quake period.
As well, they urged parents to teach all family members how to use a fire extinguisher.
Other aspects that should be looked at immediately, include:
• Organize or refresh emergency supply kits, as families may find themselves isolated for a couple of days or even as long as a week.
• Store at least four litres of water per person, per day.
• Think about what other supplies might you need if transportation routes are blocked and you needed to remain in the same place for an extended length of time.
• Organize and refresh your emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, flashlights, food, crank radios, satellite phones, generators and fuel.