Not all of our readers live in earthquake zones but coastal BC is very much aware of the need to be prepared for ‘the big one’. A province-wide initiative resulted in Canada’s largest earthquake drill on January 26, 2011.

Spearheaded by The Great British Columbia Shakeout, nearly half a million people participated in an earthquake drill. The key advice during a quake? Drop, cover, and hold on!

The Province did a followup article with some practical tips on what to do to further prepare for and reduce damage to persons and property…

Drop, cover and hold on
Photograph by: The Great B.C. ShakeOut, CHBC News

Drop, cover and hold.

That’s what thousands of B.C. residents did on Wednesday morning as part of a province-wide earthquake drill.

ShakeOut B.C., which was organized by the B.C. Earthquake Alliance, aims to increase earthquake awareness and emergency preparedness.

While earthquakes are infrequent in the Okanagan, they do occur from time to time.  Wednesday’s drill was the largest earthquake drill in Canadian history.

Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of damage if an earthquake were to strike:

• Strap your water heater to the wall

• Locate and know how to turn off your electrical system at the main circuit breaker or fuse box

• Move or secure objects that could fall on you such as books, plants or dishes

• Secure heavy objects such as bookcases or top-heavy furniture

• Remove or isolate flammable materials

• Do not place your bed near a window or hang heavy objects such as mirrors or paintings in a position where they could fall on the bed

• Secure TVs and computers

• Keep a fire extinguisher in your home

• Locate your home’s emergency exits and fire alarms

• Pack an emergency survival kit that contains food, sleeping bags, medication, first-aid supplies and bottled water

• Keep a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries on hand

Further resources on how to prepare for earthquakes can be found at The Great British Columbia Shakeout. Also, it is a great idea to have an emergency kit and plan no matter where you live. The Government of Canada website has great emergency preparedness resources. Stay prepared and stay safe!