The aftermath of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch

The aftermath of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch

Great B.C. ShakeOut set for Jan. 26 across the province

Drop, cover and hold on.

Many people know what to do during an earthquake, but few are prepared for what comes next.

The Great British Columbia ShakeOut, a locally driven, province-wide earthquake drill spearheaded by the B.C. Earthquake Alliance aims to change that. More than 330,000 people have registered for the Jan. 26 event, set to start at 10 a.m.

“I have been taking many steps to ensure that people are better prepared for these types of emergencies,” said Brock Henson, emergency program officer for the District of Saanich and member of the ShakeOut organizing committee.

The most important step individuals can take to prepare for the big one, is to ensure they have enough food and water in their homes to sustain their families for up to one week following an earthquake, Henson said.

The drill is intended to be an annual event that encourages businesses and residents to practise “drop, cover and hold on,” to have an emergency kit ready and to be aware of hazards in the community.

Henson recently returned from Christchurch, New Zealand where a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September has now become one of the top five insurance events of all time, measuring $5 billion in claims to structural damage.

“It’s very important that people have earthquake insurance so, if something like that happens here, they have the tools to enable themselves as individuals and a greater community to recover faster,” he said.

Vancouver Island is in an active earthquake region, averaging 1,200 earthquakes annually.

“Personally I think it’s a really neat concept that we’re all going to do an earthquake drill at the exact same time,” said Rob Johns, co-chair of the ShakeOut organizing committee and former Saanich emergency planner. “It will raise awareness of what to do in an earthquake, because people over 40 didn’t learn that in school.”

To register for the Great B.C. ShakeOut, or for more information on emergency preparedness, visit www.shakeoutbc.ca.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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