Offices, schools, homes and more offer protection in the event of an earthquake. The Great BC ShakeOut is slated for Oct. 15, but individuals and socially distanced groups can practice earthquake drills anytime. (Black Press media file photo)

Offices, schools, homes and more offer protection in the event of an earthquake. The Great BC ShakeOut is slated for Oct. 15, but individuals and socially distanced groups can practice earthquake drills anytime. (Black Press media file photo)

Earthquake early warning research backs Great BC ShakeOut activities

Public encouraged to host socially distanced earthquake drills Oct. 15 or anytime

In an earthquake, a pre-shake warning of even a few seconds can make a huge difference.

An national earthquake early warning (EEW) system under development by Canadian scientists aims to provide enough advance notice to allow for potentially lifesaving actions to take place, says seismologist Alison Bird, EEW liaison and outreach officer with Natural Resources Canada in Victoria.

“Even with only a few seconds’ warning, much can be done to prepare for the strong shaking,” she says. “Automated systems can trigger protective actions, such as opening fire hall and ambulance bay doors to allow vehicles to get out, alerting hospitals to halt surgeries, stopping traffic from proceeding onto bridges or into tunnels, stopping trains, moving elevators to the nearest floor and opening doors and other important functions.”

RELATED STORY: Saanich Emergency Program puts emphasis on preparation

The system will eventually send alerts – warnings of between “seconds to tens of seconds,” depending upon one’s proximity to the quake epicentre – via the National Public Alerting System, TV, radio, Internet and to compatible mobile devices where service is reliably fast enough.

The EEW is one of two major early warning systems with connections to Victoria.

Ocean Networks Canada, driven largely by research done at the University of Victoria, has its offshore earthquake monitoring equipment installed in the Pacific Ocean seabed and is in the midst of field testing its systems. Its focus is on warning the public of a megathrust earthquake (often referred to as “the big one”) along the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ), Bird says.

“The national EEW system is for all earthquakes in the region, including the CSZ megathrust; large “crustal earthquakes” within the North American Plate where we live, and “in-slab” earthquakes within the subducting Juan de Fuca plate, as it pushes beneath the North American Plate and into the mantle,” she explains. “We are working with ONC to find a way for the two systems to work hand-in-hand.”

The EEW system is slated to be operational in 2024.

Meanwhile, nearly 90,000 people are registered for B.C. ShakeOut activities, which can be carried out on any day, anywhere. For those who want to stage their own earthquake drill Oct. 15, register at shakeoutbc.ca. The site also hosts a list of resources, from COVID-safe drill tips to printable reminders about coming events.

Visit bit.ly/3loxSVi for a list of participating agencies and local governments, and click on the highlighted links to learn more about emergency preparedness in your community.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Emergency PreparednessShakeOut

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

A fire sparked at an encampment between the Pat Bay Highway and McKenzie Avenue early Thursday morning. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Residents of Pat Bay Highway encampment to be relocated after early morning fire, site secured for clean up

Eviction notice issued in 2020, not enforced to allow BC Housing to connect with campers

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read