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Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

The B.C.-wide, one-and-a-half-minute drill will be held Thursday
Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle and Eileen Grant, emergency programs manager with the District of Oak Bay, share information about the annual Great British Columbia Shake Out. The B.C.-wide, one-and-a-half-minute drill will take place Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. (Flavio Nienow/News staff photo)

When the clock strikes 10:18 a.m. this Thursday, Oct. 18, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians will practice what to do in the event of an earthquake.

According to Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle, who’s also the B.C. Earthquake Alliance’s president and chair, more than 730,000 British Columbians have already registered to take part in the annual Great British Columbia ShakeOut.

And with thousands of residents still registering every day, Cockle expects over 900,000 people to take part in the B.C.-wide, one-and-a-half-minute drill.

“I’d love to see it get to a million [people] because that’s a quarter of the B.C. population,” said Cockle.

“This event is important because, as beautiful as the area that we live in is, the area has earthquake risk, and the best practice in the event of an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on,” he continued. “It’s about knowing what to do immediately in the time that it happens, and then move forward.”

“Shake out, don’t freak out,” he added.

According to the B.C. Earthquake Alliance (BCEA), which has been organizing the ShakeOut drill since January 2010, official rescue teams that have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized “drop, cover and hold on” protocol.

As the name suggests, it involves dropping to the ground, taking cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and holding on to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, the BCEA advises you to drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table.

Individuals and businesses interested in taking part in the drill are encouraged to register online at, where more information, videos and resources on how to be better prepared for an earthquake can be found.

A table with information on earthquake preparedness has also been set up at the Oak Bay Municipal Hall.

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