Earthquake means ‘drop, cover, hold on’

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  • Oct. 20, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond and Speaker Bill Barisoff take part in earthquake drill at the B.C. legislature Thursday.

VICTORIA – Standing in a doorway is passé. Running outside takes too long.

The best way to protect yourself from falling objects in an earthquake is ducking under a desk or sturdy table, or crouching and protecting your head from impact until one minute after the shaking stops.

Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond, Speaker Bill Barisoff, MLAs and staff interrupted the legislature session Thursday morning to demonstrate the latest strategy for responding to an earthquake. Schools, government offices and families around the province also participated.

The “Great British Columbia Shakeout” is Canada’s largest earthquake exercise, with more than 500,000 people registered to take part. The drill was also held in Oregon, California and other U.S. states in the Pacific region where faults could produce a major earthquake at any time.

“When an earthquake does occur, the ground will shake and jerk sideways, which creates sudden back-and-forth motions,” said Kelli Kryzanowski, manager of catastrophic planning for Emergency Management BC. “This intense shaking can cause every unsecured object in a room to topple, to fall or even become airborne, and this is when people are most often injured or killed in earthquakes.”

Every year in B.C. there are more than 1,200 earthquakes, mostly small. History suggests there is a 30 per cent chance of a major event hitting the province in the next 50 years.

Home emergency preparedness kits should contain enough food and bottled water for 72 hours, along with a first aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries.

Details are available at www.shakeoutbc.ca

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