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SAFETY FIRST | Earthquake prepardness

Earthquakes happen. Are you prepared?

Digital writers

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 12:27 PM - On Thursday at 10:18 a.m. (PDT), some 800,000 across B.C. will be participating in the Great British Columbia Shake Out, an initiative that promotes emergency preparedness and safety during, and after, an earthquake.

“It’s not enough to know what to do in an earthquake. You have to practice what you know so you’re ready to take immediate action once the shaking starts,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness in British Columbia, in a statement.

“That’s why I’m encouraging all British Columbians to take a few minutes on October 18 to Drop, Cover and Hold On during the Great BC ShakeOut. Practicing an emergency drill like ShakeOut, along with having an emergency kit and plan, is the key to better preparing ourselves and our families for earthquakes.”

ShakeOut has been an annual event in B.C. since 2011. The province is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes: experts say there is a one-in-three chance a significant seismic event will strike southwestern B.C. sometime in the next 50 years. 

But you don't have to be on the west coast to prepare for an earthquake.

Here are a few safety tips, courtesy of the Government of Ontario:


  • Drop, cover and hold — Locate a sturdy piece of furniture, cover your head and hold on until the shaking stops
  • If there is nothing to duck under, settle into a corner of the room
  • Stay away from windows, which can shatter
  • Remain inside until the shaking stops
  • If you must leave, use stairs. Avoid elevators as power outages could leave you trapped
  • It's not uncommon for fire alarms and sprinkler systems to trigger during an earthquake, even if there is no fire

(RELATED: California overdue for a large earthquake)


  • Drop to the ground in a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees, streetlights and any other debris that could fall on you
  • Rmain in place until the ground stops shaking
  • Look out for falling rocks and debris if you're near slopes or cliffs


  • Pull over to a safe place and stay inside
  • Listen to your radio for instructions and safety tips
  • Don't leave your vehicle if downed power lines are across it. Call and wait for help
  • Stay away from anything that could collapse, like a bridge, overpass, underpass or building
  • If you're on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops. Sit in a crouched position and protect your head

Remember, after shocks can occur for several hours or days after an earthquake.


  • Keep a blanket, first aid kit and cell hone charger in your car
  • Candles, matches, bottled water, batteries, a radio and a first aid kit are handy to keep at home
  • Make sure your fire alarms have working batteries
  • Planning ahead doesn't hurt. Visit ShakeOut to learn more about earthquake drills you can practice in your home


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