UVic shows off earthquake warning system

Residents participate in annual ShakeOut drill in record numbers

Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle laments one thing about an earthquake early warning system demonstration last week.

For a full minute media watched an earthquake simulation.

No one stopped.

No one dropped.

No one held on.

They did however, get the message: Seconds of warning offer life-saving opportunities when an earthquake strikes.

“This is what the future of earthquake warning looks like,” said Cockle, also president of BC Earthquake Alliance.

“This is a great piece of technology that we at ShakeOut BC support fully. We’re proud to partner through the Early Earthquake Warning page within our website so we can keep abreast of the newest technology and information so all of our residents are fully prepared to make good decisions.”

While there’s no earthquake warning in place, “there is progress being made,” said Teron Moore, business analyst with Ocean Networks Canada.

More than 3,000 earthquakes occur in BC every year. There’s a one-in-10 chance for a destructive megathrust earthquake in BC within the next 50 years.

“While most of these earthquakes are not felt by humans, they are recorded by seismic instruments across the province,” Moore said.

Using a countdown timer and video, Moore demonstrated how the earthquake warning technology works during a simulated magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake. In this case, the data transmitted to an earthquake alarm developed by UVic electrical engineering students.

ONC’s Web-enabled Awareness Research Network – a geohazard-detection research software platform that co-ordinates information from sensors on sea and land –  detects the first felt wave in an earthquake.

It estimates the location and magnitude of the quake and predicts ground shaking, allowing alerts to go out to the affected area before the ground shakes.

“ONC is the only organization in Canada that has earthquake sensors offshore,” said Adrian Round, ONC’s director of observatory operations and a director of UVic’s Emergency Operations Centre.

“ONC provides the sensor data to help make decisions, when seconds count,” adds Round. “But effective earthquake early warning requires a huge collaborative effort, involving governments, science, industry and the will of the public.”

The extra seconds offer time to stop traffic, pause elevators, shut off gas lines, open bay doors at fire and ambulance halls, stop surgeries and offer added time to “drop, cover and hold on.”

That skill was practiced in record numbers the next day during the annual province-wide earthquake drill.

“Since launching the Great British Columbia ShakeOut in 2011, we’ve seen participation jump from 470,000 to a new record of 785,000 in 2015,” Cockle said.

“I think that reflects an increased understanding of the earthquake risk in B.C. and the need to be prepared. We’re on our way to creating a culture of preparedness and making British Columbia a more resilient province.”

Their online platform shakeoutbc.ca also offers resources and information for residents to be prepared all year.

Oak Bay Emergency Prep also offers a preparedness information session Nov. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Windsor Park Pavilion, 2451 Windsor Rd. Visit oakbayemergency.com for more information.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mill Bay nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Saanich police are investigating property damage at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police seek info after fence torn down, dumped over embankment in Saanich

Christmas Hill restoration site fence destroyed sometime between Jan. 16 and 18

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

Most Read