Offices, schools, homes and more offer protection in the event of an earthquake. The Great BC ShakeOut is slated for Oct. 15, but individuals and socially distanced groups can practice earthquake drills anytime. (Black Press media file photo)

Offices, schools, homes and more offer protection in the event of an earthquake. The Great BC ShakeOut is slated for Oct. 15, but individuals and socially distanced groups can practice earthquake drills anytime. (Black Press media file photo)

Earthquake early warning research backs Great BC ShakeOut activities

Public encouraged to host socially distanced earthquake drills Oct. 15 or anytime

In an earthquake, a pre-shake warning of even a few seconds can make a huge difference.

An national earthquake early warning (EEW) system under development by Canadian scientists aims to provide enough advance notice to allow for potentially lifesaving actions to take place, says seismologist Alison Bird, EEW liaison and outreach officer with Natural Resources Canada in Victoria.

“Even with only a few seconds’ warning, much can be done to prepare for the strong shaking,” she says. “Automated systems can trigger protective actions, such as opening fire hall and ambulance bay doors to allow vehicles to get out, alerting hospitals to halt surgeries, stopping traffic from proceeding onto bridges or into tunnels, stopping trains, moving elevators to the nearest floor and opening doors and other important functions.”

RELATED STORY: Saanich Emergency Program puts emphasis on preparation

The system will eventually send alerts – warnings of between “seconds to tens of seconds,” depending upon one’s proximity to the quake epicentre – via the National Public Alerting System, TV, radio, Internet and to compatible mobile devices where service is reliably fast enough.

The EEW is one of two major early warning systems with connections to Victoria.

Ocean Networks Canada, driven largely by research done at the University of Victoria, has its offshore earthquake monitoring equipment installed in the Pacific Ocean seabed and is in the midst of field testing its systems. Its focus is on warning the public of a megathrust earthquake (often referred to as “the big one”) along the Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ), Bird says.

“The national EEW system is for all earthquakes in the region, including the CSZ megathrust; large “crustal earthquakes” within the North American Plate where we live, and “in-slab” earthquakes within the subducting Juan de Fuca plate, as it pushes beneath the North American Plate and into the mantle,” she explains. “We are working with ONC to find a way for the two systems to work hand-in-hand.”

The EEW system is slated to be operational in 2024.

Meanwhile, nearly 90,000 people are registered for B.C. ShakeOut activities, which can be carried out on any day, anywhere. For those who want to stage their own earthquake drill Oct. 15, register at shakeoutbc.ca. The site also hosts a list of resources, from COVID-safe drill tips to printable reminders about coming events.

Visit bit.ly/3loxSVi for a list of participating agencies and local governments, and click on the highlighted links to learn more about emergency preparedness in your community.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Emergency PreparednessShakeOut

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

Just Posted

The Turkey Head Walkway. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay community sees untapped potential in Turkey Head

Part 3 of a closer look at Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

Lookout Lake water levels are low as the dam undergoes upgrades. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Colwood dam upgrades projected to be under budget

Province designates Lookout Brook as a high consequence dam should it fail

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Most Read