Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Shortly after 10:15 a.m. Thursday, more than 930,000 British Columbians will “drop, cover and hold on” as part of a province-wide practice test for when a real earthquake strikes.

The annual Great British Columbian ShakeOut drill is part of a worldwide disaster preparedness test.

There are roughly 3,000 tremors and quakes across the province each year. According to earthquake analysts, the Cascadia subduction zone – a fault running from northern Vancouver Island to California – is the area of greatest risk in B.C. for tremors. Scientists have been keeping a close eye on the Juan de Fuca plate, which is skidding below the North American plate and has the potential to slip and cause a powerful quake.

The last major earthquake, which registered as 7.8, was in 2012 in Haida Gwaii. Since then, many researchers have shared their theories on when “the big one” will hit.

“Earthquakes don’t make appointments. We have to be ready when they arrive,” Naomi Yamamoto, president of the BC Earthquake Alliance said in a statement to Black Press Media.

“Practising ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ builds muscle memory and is a great way to be prepared to survive and recover quickly.”

In the case of an earthquake, you should:

  1. Drop where you are onto your hands and knees.
  2. Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. If possible, crawl underneath a nearby desk or chair for shelter.
  3. Hold on until the shaking stops. Wait for the shaking to stop and count to 60 before emerging from your safe area to allow objects that may have shifted during the shaking to settle.

This year’s drill comes just a few days after scientists in the U.S. announced their discovery of “stormquakes,” the combination of two disasters: hurricanes and earthquakes.

The shaking of the sea floor during hurricanes and nor’easters can rumble like a magnitude 3.5 earthquake and can last for days, according to a study in this week’s journal Geophysical Research Letters.

While they are fairly common, stormquakes weren’t considered much more than seismic background noise by researchers until now.

Wenyuan Fan, a Florida State University seismologist who was the study’s lead author, told the Associated Press that her team discovered 14,077 stormquakes between September 2006 and February 2015 in B.C., as well as the Gulf of Mexico and off Florida, New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

In an emailed statement, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth encouraged all British Columbians to participate in the drill, which starts at 10:17 a.m. PST.

“If you live in an active earthquake zone, knowing what to do when the shaking starts could save your life.”

– with files from the Associated Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

Volunteer organization provides first aid and rescue services

Main fundraiser, the Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap, takes place at Abbotsford Exhibition Park Nov. 16 and 17

Highway 1 crash in Langley slowing traffic

Accident happened at 232nd Street and has left one car on the right shoulder

Variable speed limit system coming for Highway 3 near Hope

Congestion based system in testing phase between Chilliwack and Abbotsford by early 2020

UPDATE: Coquihalla now open north of Hope

Accident happened earlier this afternoon

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read