The following blog post was written by Graydon Leigh, a political science major at the University of Victoria. Graydon grew up in Port Coquitlam, BC and aspires to be a journalist. He is an avid hockey fan and is honoured to write about volunteerism and community events in Victoria.
Victoria resides in one of the most seismically active regions of the world. Although it may not seem like earthquakes occur on a regular basis, small shockwaves are recorded quite frequently in British Columbia. As many people are aware, we lie on a seismic fault that is one of the most earthquake-prone in Western Canada.
Earthquakes can happen at any time. While those of us who live in this beautiful part of the world are powerless to stop this act of nature, nothing can stop us from preparing to face this potentially life threatening situation.
The Great British Columbia ShakeOut was created as a public safety campaign to equip British Columbians with the necessary skills to respond in the event of an earthquake. Originally developed in California, another high-risk earthquake zone, the ShakeOut is an educational event that is targeted at the community level. The drill encourages concerned citizens, schools, businesses and other organizations to put their heads together in an effort to create a life changing public service that could potentially save countless lives. After all, research shows that people are more prepared for a natural disaster after attending information and safety events and practicing how to respond.
I had the opportunity to speak with Emily Dicken from the BC ShakeOut organizing committee. Her passion for the event was obvious, as she informed me that participating in ShakeOut is a great way to practice what to do when you feel an earthquake. Evidence shows that people are more likely to respond appropriately during an earthquake if it is something that they have routinely practiced.
I also learned that the ShakeOut is Canada’s largest earthquake drill, and the 2012 event will be the third annual drill held in British Columbia.
This year’s drill is taking place on Thursday, October 18th at 10:18 AM and ShakeOut will cut across borders, providing life saving information to millions of people on the West Coast of North America. British Columbia as well as California, Oregon, and Washington will all be taking part in the event, practicing “drop, cover, and hold on” at the exact same time.
While the event was first held in the United States, it has since spread internationally and includes Japan, Italy and Guam.
Emily from the ShakeOut organizing committee put great emphasis on being prepared – not only during the shaking, but after it as well. She recommended building a personal preparedness kit with enough supplies for 3 to 7 days following an earthquake.
Volunteers can play a vital role in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut. Get involved today!
Help share the ShakeOut within your community by organizing a “drop, cover, and hold on” event. Visit the ShakeOut BC website http://www.shakeoutbc.ca/ for more information and access to free resources.
So take a spin on the information superhighway and register to promote earthquake awareness today!
Update: The 2012 Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill is this Thursday (October 18th at 10:18 a.m.), and more than 570,000 people are registered to participate. In total more than 13.6 million people worldwide that will practice earthquake safety Thursday, and even more will see and learn what to do through your example.
If you are registered for this year’s drill, thank you! If you participated in the past but have not yet renewed your registration for 2012, there is still time to renew at shakeoutbc.ca/login.