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Earthquakes in BC are real: How prepared are you to keep your family safe?

After the massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Mexico recently, many of us in BC have been hoping for the safety of those impacted. We may also be thinking, what if that happened here in BC? The fact is, earthquakes do happen here. While many aren’t felt, small to medium sized earthquakes are common in our province and, in recent years, we’ve experienced—and felt— some strong earthquakes.

Earthquakes in BC are real—and the images we see about earthquakes happening around the world can serve as a reminder that there’s a risk of a more destructive earthquake in BC. So, let’s be proactive about this and start taking steps now to protect ourselves and our families.

Drop, Cover and Hold On

The most important thing for any of us to know is how to survive the moment a strong earthquake hits. We should all learn and practice the life-saving response of “Drop, Cover and Hold On” until it becomes instinctive.

  1. Drop to the floor.
  2. Find cover under a table or piece of sturdy furniture.
  3. Hold on to it until the shaking stops—remember to protect your head and neck.

Here are other steps you can easily take to prepare your family and home and keep you all safe:

Have an Emergency Plan

Make a plan so that you and your family know what to do after the shaking stops, which includes escape routes in the house, meeting places if you’re not together and an out of town contact whom everyone can call if local communications are down. Go over your plan at least once a year. Also, know your children’s daycare or school earthquake emergency plans.

Emergency Kit

Prepare an emergency kit at home that can sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours until help arrives. You can customize a kit by adding items to a ready-made kit. Include medications and pet food if you have pets. Store your kit in a place that's easy to get to. Prepare kits for your home, car and work. Members receive a 20% discount on emergency kits for home and personal use with our rewards partner F.A.S.T. First Aid & Survival Technologies Limited. To learn more visit www.bcaa.com/emergencykit.

Prepare your Home

Evidence from previous earthquakes suggests that even small scale earthquakes can cause non-structural items in your home to topple over, fall from shelving or walls or move during an earthquake. Items such as such as tall and heavy free-standing furniture, a water tank or heavy wall hangings can create safety hazards in your home. Our friends at ShakeOut BC have compiled some tips with more details about how you – or an appropriate contractor – can prepare your home.

Join us! Participate in The Great B.C. ShakeOut!

BCAA is proud to sponsor and participate in The Great B.C. ShakeOut - part of the world's largest earthquake drill - on October 19 at 10:19am. Register online to join and practice the “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill with millions of others worldwide.