Provincewide ShakeOut preps residents

Oak Bay has two coming emergency preparedness information sessions: Oct. 15 at Monterey Centre and Nov. 17 at the Windsor Park Pavilion

Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Tom Pearse

Oak Bay Deputy Fire Chief Tom Pearse

Things could be a little shaky during the first of two fall emergency planning presentations for Oak Bay residents.

The Oct. 15 information session starts at 10 a.m. At 10:15, emergency response planners and volunteers hope everyone will respond to a province-wide earthquake drill.

“We’d like all residents to practice their drop, cover and hold on,” says Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle, who also serves as emergency co-ordinator for the municipality and chair of the annual ShakeOutBC. “We encourage residents to register online.”

At shakeoutbc.ca residents can register and find valuable tools for general preparedness in any emergent situation, from building grab-and-go kits for home and work, to insurance options and knowing where electrical and water shutoffs are located.

One focus this year, is getting employers on the preparation path.

“A business that prepares its staff is going to be up and operational sooner and encourage safety,” Cockle said. “Emergency-prepared employees will know how to be safe and home and work.”

It’s important that employees, or family members, know what’s stored where and that items be replenished as they expire.

“You need to pull them out and make sure you know what you have,” Cockle said.

It might be a good time to also go over exits and have a plan. “The talk is always ‘The Big One’,” said Tom Pearse, deputy chief and deputy emergency co-ordinator for Oak Bay. “If you’re prepared for that, you’re prepared for anything.”

Last year, more than 740,000 residents registered for the province-wide earthquake drill that offers an opportunity to practice how to react during an earthquake. Drop, cover and hold on, is recommended to reduce injury and death.

“We’re trying to give our residents the opportunity so they’re prepared. “We’re trying to change the culture of how we think about disasters … we do have risks,” Cockle said.

Oak Bay also has two coming emergency preparedness information sessions: Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon at Monterey Centre, 1442 Monterey Ave. and Nov. 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Windsor Park Pavilion, 2451 Windsor Rd.

“It’s a really good way for our volunteers to prepare nieghbourhoods and pass on some of the education and learning,” Pearse said.

All Oak Bay Emergency Program workshops and events are free, but pre-register by calling 250-592-9121 or email obep@oakbay.ca to guarantee a seat.

Visit oakbayemergency.com for more information about the preparedness sessions. Go to shakeoutbc.ca online for resources, information or to register for the Oct. 15 event.