Individuals, families and businesses from around the world are getting ready to shake, rattle and roll for a fun earthquake preparation event.
View Royal Fire Rescue is among the Greater Victoria participants using the event as an opportunity to teach people about the importance of being ready for the “big one.”
“It’s really gaining some momentum,” said Lt. Troy Mollin, emergency program officer for the department. “It’s a great opportunity to keep the procedure fresh in people’s minds.”
On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. participating countries from around the world, and particularly up and down the coast of North America, will pretend to be in an earthquake and practise the proper response.
The event has been running since 2011 in B.C. and since 2008 in Southern California, where it began. In the years since, it has grown in both the number of individual participants and countries. A Shake Out is now held in places as far away as New Zealand, Japan and Puerto Rico.
As part of the event, firefighters from the View Royal department will go to schools to refresh students on earthquake safety. As well, they’ll run their own drill on the day of the event and spearhead a tabletop exercise of View Royal’s emergency response.
When a quake strikes, it’s important for people to get underneath something sturdy for protection.
“Something very close by. A table is ideal,” Mollin said.
Hold on to one of the table legs to stop it from walking away with the shaking, and use your other arm to cover your face and neck. Once the shaking stops, count to 60 before coming out.
“That gives you time to let things settle,” Mollin said. “Take a moment.”
At that point leave the building and head to your predetermined meeting spot.
Those willing to take the next step should take a look around their home and think about how to secure objects that are potentially dangerous during a quake.
“The main thing that injures or kills people are the things in your home,” Mollin said.
To take part in the Great B.C. Shake Out, register as an individual, family or company online and then participate to whatever extent desired. CFAX 1070 plans to broadcast the fake quake, so tune in for the cue, or create your own.
As a firefighter, Mollin knows well how important preparation is to be ready for when real emergencies strike.
“Practice helps those life-saving skills become second nature,” he said. “People tend to freeze or freak out. The more you practise, the less chance that will kick in.”