UBC’s Earthquake Engineering Research Facility demonstrates how earthquakes can cause hazards inside a home. (Black Press file photo)

UBC’s Earthquake Engineering Research Facility demonstrates how earthquakes can cause hazards inside a home. (Black Press file photo)

Are you prepared for an earthquake? Great B.C. Shakeout promotes safety tips

Preparation is key to getting through major quakes safely

Are you prepared for when the “Big One” hits? The annual Great B.C. Shakeout is bringing that question top of mind for British Columbians.

Some organizations, like UBC’s Earthquake Engineering Research Facility, will be demonstrating how earthquakes impact structures and sharing tips on improving earthquake safety at home by offering tours of their facility to the public on Thursday (Oct. 21).

Principal investigator and director of EERF Carlos Ventura says preparation is key.

“Living in B.C., we should all have our own earthquake drills every single day. Every time we walk into a space that is new to us, even in our office spaces, in a board room, a library, a coffee shop, ask yourself — What do I do if the ground starts shaking suddenly? How prepared am I? Do I have a game plan in mind? Are there overhead hazards to be aware of? Should I expect a flying object hitting my head? Is there a suitable space close to me or a table that I can get cover under? We should all get used to the thought process, develop a habit, and build an earthquake preparedness culture.”

Research indicates there’s a 10 per cent chance that a magnitude 9 earthquake will strike B.C. over the next 30 years, and a 30 per cent chance of an earthquake big enough to cause “significant” property damage striking within the next 50 years.

So far, over 720,000 participants have registered to participate in the Great B.C. Shakeout. Shakeout B.C., a resource created specifically to promote the event and earthquake education. They recommend securing household items before an earthquake strikes, creating an emergency plan to keep your family safe and procuring at least 72 hours worth of emergency supplies to be kept in easy-to-access areas of your home.

When an earthquake does strike, Shakeout B.C. says “drop, cover and hold on”. Dropping onto your hands and knees prevents you from falling over. Finding cover under sturdy surfaces will prevent debris from falling onto you, or get down next to an interior wall away from windows. Then it’s time to hold on: if you’re under shelter hold on to your shelter with one hand and be ready to move with it, if you’re not under shelter hold on to your neck and head with both hands.

The Great B.C. Shakeout takes place at 10:21 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21.

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