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 took place Thursday at 10:18 a.m. (Flavio Nienow/News staff photo)

Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says that’s because the perception of risk is greater on the Island

Vancouver Island homeowners buy considerably more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C., according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

While 70 per cent of Vancouver Island homeowners have purchased earthquake insurance, the provincial average is 45 per cent.

According to IBC vice-president Aaron Sutherland, the biggest barrier to homeowners buying earthquake insurance isn’t the price – it’s the perception of risk.

“We know from our polling that most British Columbians don’t expect an earthquake to happen in their lifetime, but we know that we’ve seen the most seismic activity on the Island in the last few years, and that’s a constant reminder to residents on the Island that earthquake risk is very real and we all need to take steps to ensure we’re prepared.”

READ MORE:Magnitude 3.0 earthquake rattles southern Vancouver Island

Although emergency plans enable local governments to lay a foundation for their response to catastrophic events, emergency response is not the sole responsibility of government, according Eileen Grant, emergency program manager with the District of Oak Bay.

“Our strength will be in the relationships that we have built leading up to the disaster,” she said, adding that one of the primary activities of the Oak Bay Emergency Program is education.

“Our aim is to help Oak Bay residents become prepared to be self-sustaining for seven days or more, and resilient enough to be able to make the decision to stay in Oak Bay through its recovery,” she said. “This year alone we have talked to over 1,000 residents about the value of being prepared and resilient.”

“Oak Bay’s real strength is its residents, and they are its most important factor in how well it will survive and be able rebuild after a disaster.”

Grant said the district also relies on the relationships it has built with its regional infrastructure partners.

“We have developed mutual aid agreements with our neighbours to increase our capacity to respond to an emergency,” she said. “These relationships are part of Oak Bay’s everyday life and the backbone of our response and recovery plans.”

Oak Bay Fire Chief Dave Cockle said community meetings and workshops about emergency preparedness tend to have full attendance in Oak Bay.

“We know that people are engaged,” he said.

READ MORE: Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill



flavio.nienow@oakbaynews.com

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