Earthquake shakes Victoria

Mayor hopes earthquake will prompt residents to be better prepared

The clock was approaching midnight Tuesday when Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps awoke in a shaking bed.

“I thought here we go,” said Helps, who immediately knew it was an earthquake. “Before I was fully awake it was over. Then I turned on my phone, looked at Twitter and saw everyone else had felt it too.”

Helps was among many Victoria residents who were jolted out of bed by a small earthquake that briefly rattled homes across much of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The magnitude 4.3 quake hit at 11:39 p.m. and was centered about eight kilometres east of Sidney. Natural Resources Canada received no reports of significant damage.

Many people took to social media to report what the quake was like. Some felt their beds shake, heard dressers or windows rattle and had small objects tip over, while others slept through the night, unaware anything had even happened. Staff at theVictoria police call centre answered around 40 calls to 911 about the earthquake.

Helps has lived in Victoria for 20 years. The earthquake was the strongest she’s ever felt.

“It was quite scary,” she said, adding the fire department was on it right away, checking to make sure city buildings were secure and nobody was hurt.

“From our end, it was a small test and everything went fairly smoothly.”

The city has policies and produces in place should a powerful earthquake occur. The focus is now on making sure citizens and businesses are prepared to handle a disaster.

A typical earthquake kit includes a battery powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, a whistle to signal for help, small first aid kit, cellphone with charger, cash in small bills, garbage bags, a dust mask, a local map with a family meeting place identified, seasonal clothing and footwear, and a three-day supply of food and water. A “grab-and-go” bag should also be created for work and vehicles.

Helps hopes the quake is a wake up call for those who don’t already have kits. She has enough supplies in hers for 10 days.

“It’s important to think about what you’re going to need in an emergency,” said Helps, adding she has a bottle of bleach in a mason jar in case water needs to be purified.

“After the last one, which was maybe two or three years ago, we did a whole bunch of research and just got ready….For me, it’s top of mind.”

According to the city’s website, Victoria has a one in three (32 per cent) probability of a damaging earthquake in the next 50 years and is also prone to tsunamis. If an earthquake lasts for more than 60 seconds or is so strong that it is difficult to stand, people in low-lying coastal areas are advised to move to higher ground.

Tuesday’s tremor was the biggest quake to be felt in the region since a 6.8 quake rocked Washington State in 2001, causing some property damage in Seattle. The two largest quakes ever recorded in B.C. have both been centred near Haida Gwaii — an 8.1 magnitude quake in 1949 that remains Canada’s strongest since 1700 and a 7.7 quake in 2012.

SFU Geologist Brent Ward said the shaking Tuesday was a crustal earthquake, about 50 to 60 kilometres beneath the surface. Crustal quakes are much more common and closer to populated areas than massive 8.0-plus subduction zone quakes — often dubbed the Big One — that strike every few hundred years well off the West Coast.

Larger crustal quakes in the six to seven range hit every 50 to 60 years in B.C. A 7.2 crustal quake occurred near Courtenay in 1946 and caused extensive landslides, soil liquefaction and damage to brick buildings.

For more information on emergency kits visit the PreparedBC or PrepareVictoria websites.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

editor@vicnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria police search for missing senior last seen in James Bay at noon today

Elsie Habbick, 75, is quite mobile, despite suffering from dementia

PHOTOS: 120th Annual Victoria Day Parade

Check out the photo gallery, watch our live feed of the festivities

Esquimalt Farmers Market kicks off summer season

Recently named Best Mid-sized Farmers Market in B.C., weekly event returns to Memorial Park

Preserving Victoria’s character buildings costly, but worth it

Pemberton and Son recognized for heritage preservation of Promis Block

Reporter gets serious with Tour de Victoria’s 140km ride

Travis Paterson’s training blog for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria on Aug. 18, Volume 1

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read