Impossible to predict when disaster will strike

Taking the time to prepare for an emergency is well worth the effort

When people talk about things that go bump in the night people on B.C.’s west coast could be forgiven for their thoughts turning to earthquakes.

Few have escaped feeling the vibrations of a minor quake occurring nearby and we’ve all seen and heard of the large quakes causing devastation in parts of California. And if the experts are to be believed, it’s only a matter of time before another megaquake rocks Vancouver Island.

In January 1700 a magnitude 8.7 quake struck off the west coast of Vancouver Island, wiping out entire First Nations villages and causing a tsunami that swept across the Pacific and deluged the coast of Japan.

Quakes of that magnitude are estimated to occur every 300 to 700 years, so the question in everyone’s mind is do we have centuries to prepare or are we already overdue.

Chances are none of us will witness a megaquake in our lifetime. And even if a major quake was imminent, there is little reason to panic. The western side of the Island is expected to bear the brunt of the devastation, and with much of Victoria situated on bedrock, it should escape some of the more severe shaking. Many of the buildings in and around Victoria have been seismically upgraded in the aftermath of a major quake that rocked the Seattle area in 2001.

But there is every reason to be prepared.

In the event of an earthquake, the safest places are beneath sturdy furniture or beside a solid inside wall. People are advised to avoid windows and to avoid heavy objects that could fall from ceilings or shelves. Those outside should stay in the open, away from trees, buildings and power lines. Drivers are advised to stop their car away from overpasses, bridges and power lines and to stay inside their vehicle.

Assembling a 72-hour emergency kit is not only a good idea in the event of an earthquake, but also could come in handy if the region is struck by severe storms or other emergencies. The kit should contain water, food and other essentials that would allow you to survive for three days until emergency responders arrive.

Taking the time to make a few preparations is well worth the effort. It could be the difference between life and death in the event a major earthquake does strike, and can offer peace of mind even if it doesn’t.

 

Just Posted

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read