Impossible to predict when disaster will strike

Saanich taking part in Thursday's Great ShakeOut emergency preparation drill

The threat of a disaster is something always looming in the minds of many Saanich residents and those across Vancouver Island. The Island sits along the undersea Cascadia thrust fault, and minor tremors and quakes are a rather common occurrence for those living up and down the West Coast.

Experts will tell you it’s a matter of when, not if, a major earthquake will cause untold devastation for those caught in its path. One of the world’s largest earthquakes occurred off the west coast of Vancouver Island in the year 1700, and officials can’t say if the next one is centuries away or is already overdue.

While we may not be able to predict when the Big One will strike, we can certainly prepare. And that’s the reason behind the Great ShakeOut, taking place in a number of communities including Saanich.

During Thursday’s exercise, Saanich Fire will activate its emergency operation centre and the district will showcase its emergency notification page on the website Saanich.ca.  It’s the first time residents can be instantly alerted to significant information about emergencies on a Saanich web page.

But preparing for a potential emergency isn’t something that should just be left to our first responders. Residents should also make every effort to ensure their family is prepared. Assembling a 72-hour emergency kit is not only a good idea in the event of an earthquake, but also could come in handy if the region is struck by severe storms or other emergencies. The kit should contain water, food and other essentials that would allow you to survive for three days until emergency responders arrive.

You can find out more at a series of free emergency preparedness workshops: Oct. 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre; Nov. 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Pearkes Recreation Centre; and Dec. 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Gordon Head Rec. Register for the courses ahead of time.

 

A few minutes is all that’s needed to make the preparations that could make all the difference in the event of an emergency. And the lives of you and your loved ones could depend on it.