A K-9 search and rescue unit during training exercises.
Credits: REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
More than 600,000 dropped, covered and held on Thursday in the annual B.C. Shakeout earthquake preparation drill, but a new poll finds most locals aren’t ready for "the big one."
An Angus Reid poll released Thursday said 60% of British Columbians don’t have an emergency kit and 70% have no emergency plan for ‘quakes.
"The big one" refers to a potential Cascadia earthquake — a 9.0 magnitude monster predicted to strike the Pacific Northwest waters within the next century.
Simon Fraser University geologist John Clague noted that could result in 15-metre waves slamming into parts of Vancouver Island. Rippling effects would be felt along the mainland’s coast with smaller, one-to-two metre waves.
A smaller magnitude 7.0 earthquake — enough to significantly damage buildings — could also be triggered inland, he added.
It would be foolish not to be as well prepared for an earthquake as we could possibly be.”
Parts of Richmond, Delta, New Westminster and other low-lying areas in the Fraser Valley are particularly at risk because ground soil can “liquefy” and flood urban areas, Clague said. Other parts of the province could expect landslides and widespread fires from ruptured utility lines.
The poll of 800 randomly selected British Columbians was conducted in partnership with B.C. Shakeout.
Education Minister Don McRae and Vancouver School Board chairwoman Patti Bacchus were present during a ‘quake drill at Mount Pleasant Elementary.
B.C. still has about 140 “high risk” schools to fortify under a $1.4 billion plan to seismically upgrade older structures. McRae said 15 are currently being upgraded with work slated to begin on another 14 schools later this year.
Bacchus said more funding would likely be needed to finish the remaining schools.
“We have about, at least, 42 projects that have not had funding commitments yet from the province. It’s approximately $850 million of work.”