BC Tremblor: Preparing Your Family and Home for “The Big One”
A relatively strong earthquake, the strongest in years, struck British Columbia around midnight on December 29. Measuring 4.7 on the Richter Scale, it jolted people awake or knocked them to the floor, shifted some homes located in the epicenter, and temporarily shut down the SkyTrain. While the occurrence of quakes like this was unusual in Canada, it happens a more than a thousand times elsewhere around the world every month. Seismologists claim that a larger earthquake following this one is unlikely to happen soon, but it does remind Vancouverites of the fact that that they live in a seismically active area.
How prepared are you for a bigger earthquake? A recent survey has determined that many Canadians are not, and that as many as 4 out of 10 homes do not have even a basic earthquake emergency kit. If you don’t have one already, you would like to get one together. A good emergency kit should have supplies for at least three days if you were cut off from water, heat or electricity.
It should contain the following items:
1. Water. Stock two liters for every person of your household per day. For a a family of four, that’s at least 25 liters.
2. Non-perishable food. This includes canned goods, energy bars and dried fruit.
3. Can opener. You would like to have the manual kind, as there would likely be no electricity in an extreme emergency
4. Battery-powered flashlight with extra batteries
5. Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
6. First aid kit
7. Spare keys to your house and car
9. List of telephone and mobile numbers of relatives, neighbors, friends and emergency services
10. Personal items needed
With no such thing as being over-prepared, you would also like to have these extra items in there.
1. More water
2. Candles and strike matches/lighters
3. Clothes and shoes
4. Sleeping bags and blankets
5. Basic carpentry tools
6. Cooking utensils
7. A whistle
8. Emergency flares
9. Duct tape
10. A fire extinguisher
11. Extra batteries for your laptop and cellphone
12. A battery-powered GPS device
If you havent already, you would like to get members of the family together to discuss what to do and how to respond, in order to reduce fear and panic. This includes rehearsing the actions you would take during the ground motion and the places you would take cover for safety. Designating “Safety Zones” within your home or building, and practicing “drop, cover and hold on” drills in each Safety Zone is a terrific idea. Investing in this emergency kit, a little education and taking the precautionary measures above dramatically increases your chances of surviving “The Big One” should it come.