Shake it out for safety’s sake View Royal staffers participate in disaster drill

View Royal, Colwood staffers participate in disaster drill

The township of View Royal is shaking things up.

On ShakeOut B.C. Day Thursday (Oct. 16), View Royal, in partnership with Colwood is taking the opportunity to further training for staff and volunteers to be ready when, not if, disaster strikes.

“We live in an active earthquake zone. We see earthquakes happen all around us, it’s just a matter of time before it affects us. We are in the window for a damaging earthquake,” said Troy Mollin, emergency program officer for the View Royal Fire Department. “It’s important to be ready.”

The firefighter of 13 years said the department has run varied programs in past, but this year the concentration is on internal training, especially with a new fire hall around the corner. Exercises include evacuations of town hall facilities and the creation and activation of an emergency operation centre where they would tend to those in need or displaced in the event of a disaster.

Juan de Fuca Seniors centre plays host to one of the drills where actors with scripts will pretend to be displaced citizens in need of help, and volunteers and staff will be working to get them the help they need. That help starts with protecting yourselves, said Mollin.

“First and foremost we protect ourselves, and our employees and community members (should be) doing the same thing, learning to protect themselves,” he said. “The more people that aren’t injured or hurt, the less load (there is) on hospitals and first responders in a major disaster. Less burden on those organizations to rescue and provide care.”

Mollin said in the event of an earthquake the community needs to remember to Drop, Cover and Hold. The immediate reaction should be to drop to the ground, take cover underneath something like a table or a desk and hold onto it so it doesn’t walk away. He said protecting your neck and head with a free arm if you can is also important while you wait for the shaking to stop. Afterwards count to 60 before planning evacuation, be loud so others can hear your voice and then evacuate.

“We still haven’t taken it seriously enough, and the more people we can get the message out to to do the simple things to help themselves, the better we will be able to recover from a disaster like that,” Mollin said. “I think it is important especially at the school age level if we can get the kids learning this. We can create a culture of emergency preparedness and hopefully in the future it will be a common thing, and not something we have to force on the public.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com