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  Weekly Feature (July 31, 2004)

Earthquake Preparedness


An earthquake starts without warning. It is very important to know what to do to prepare yourself and your family in case it occurs. You should have the appropriate information so that you can prepare yourselves before, during and after an earthquake.

There have been two small earthquakes in B.C. this month. Experts tell us that a big one is due in our area sometime in the future. To help you prepare for an earthquake, all three of these sites have valuable information.

Earthquake Information (Canadian Government Site)

Frequently Asked Questions about Earthquakes

Provincial Emergency Program: Prepare now for an Earthquake in British Columbia 

For more emergency preparedness information: 
Provincial Emergency Program

After reading the information in the Provincial Emergency Program site, check on how prepared you are by seeing if you know the answers to the questions below:

1. During the shaking, where is the best place for you to be if you are not in a building? Why? Where is the worst place to be? Why?

The best place is in the middle of an open field where you would be far away from buildings, trees and electrical wires that could fall on you.

The worst places are near tall buildings, trees and electrical wires.

2. What can you do to better prepare yourself for an earthquake at home? Make an ordered list of the 5 most urgent things that need to be done.

Get to know the safe and the dangerous places in your home. 

Prepare emergency supplies. 

Learn how to shut off your water, gas and electricity. 

Keep heavy objects on bottom shelves. 

Secure hanging plants and heavy picture frames or mirrors. 

Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers 

Plan an escape/evacuation route

3. What should you do if an earthquake happens while you are driving? Are there certain roads you should not use if there is a major earthquake?

I would pull my car to the side of the road and stay in my car until the shaking is over. Disaster response routes should not be used in an emergency situation.

4. What can you do to better prepare yourself for an earthquake in the room you are now in? 

Get to know the safe and the dangerous places in your home. 

Plan an escape/evacuation route

5. What would you include in your list of emergency phone numbers? If you had to limit your list to 5 numbers, who would be in it and in what order? Why? 

phone numbers of the doctors of all family members. 

phone number of the closest emergency hospital 

phone number of children's school/daycare 

phone number of spouse's place of work 

an out of town phone number as a central contact base

6. What are Disaster Response Routes? What should you do if you are driving on a Disaster Response Route when there is a major earthquake? Why?

You should safely pull off to the side of the road, wait for a minute and try to find the quickest way to get off that route. If your normal route home is through an Emergency Response Route, plan alternative routes.

If you see a Disaster Response Route Sign, please STAY OFF THAT ROAD WHEN A DISASTER STRIKES and listen to the radio for more information.

Emergency responders and police forces will control access to Disaster Response Routes in the event of an emergency. Public service announcements on the radio will provide information regarding specific routes and what they are being used for. Life saving equipment, ambulances, police and supply convoys will need to get through...maybe to help you!

You should be prepared to find another route to get to where you want to go.

The Disaster Response Routes should be the first roads to be cleared. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, they will likely be limited to emergency needs, including controlled evacuations. As soon as possible, the public will be allowed back onto Disaster Response Routes. In some areas, specific Disaster Response Routes could be reserved for speedy delivery of supplies from ports or nearby airstrips, or for organized medical evacuation to unaffected hospitals.

Visit Last Week's Feature: Summer Safety

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