Shake Out prepares for the big one

Annual earthquake readiness drill runs tomorrow Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m.

Jasmine Kerr

Jasmine Kerr

It’ll be all shake, rattle and roll on Oct. 18 as businesses, schools and households prepare for the “big one” with the Great B.C. Shake Out.

The annual event encourages companies, organizations and households to think about their level of preparedness in the event of a large earthquake and to take some time out of their day at 10:18 a.m. to practise taking cover.

Employees at the school board office will be climbing under their desks too and practising a mock evacuation. Human resources administration assistant Alison Makkinga said the office has participated for a couple of years now and said it is a helpful procedure to go through.

“Every time we do it we figure out something else we should have done or could have done,” Makkinga said.

Many schools in School District 62 are also taking part in the event and students will be scrambling under their desks to simulate their reaction to a real quake. Two schools, John Muir and Millstream elementary schools, are going so far as to practise a student release drill, where parents who are able to participate will come to pick up their children as would happen after a real earthquake. Those two schools will hold their drills at the end of the day.

“It’s something we haven’t practised and we know we need to record who’s there and keep track of who’s picking the people up and where are they going,” Makkinga said. “So we’re hoping to learn a lot about how to make that all smoother.”

Many schools already have supplies stockpiled in case of not being able to leave the building, most of which is prepared by Parent Advisory Committees. Makkinga said increasing earthquake preparedness isn’t in the budget right now, but it is still on everyone’s mind.

Langford’s director of Emergency Support Services, Tom Burchill, said the Shake Out is a great way to spread the word about earthquake preparedness, especially as its promotional materials are paid for by the province.

Burchill said the first thing every household should consider is securing their hot water tanks, because in the case of an emergency it can be a great source for water. Second to that Burchill recommends securing objects around the house that could fall during a quake, such as bookshelves and paintings.

“If it’s a major disaster and they have to stay in their home for three or four days,” Burchill said, “secure hot water tank because there’s 40 gallons of water right there for you.”

Another tip is to keep a pair of slippers or shoes beside your bed to help avoid stepping on glass if a quake happens during the night.

Shake Out is aiming for a goal of 600,000 participants. At the time of writing, with less than a week to go, 540,000 had registered. So far over 99,000 people are registered to participate in the Capital Regional District.


To register your home or business for the Shake Out visit