Old Massett health and emergency responders to run tsunami drill

North-end residents can join a tsunami evacuation drill starting at 10:20 a.m. tomorrow.

North-end residents can join a tsunami evacuation drill organized by Old Massett health and emergency workers this morning.

“At 10:20 a.m., we pretend there’s an earthquake,” says Chris Horner, coordinator of the Old Massett Adult Day Program.

“For two minutes, we stop drop and cover, and then we proceed to the evacuation site.”

The evacuation site for Old Massett, Masset, and Tow Hill residents is an unsigned, cleared area with two entrances off the west side of Highway 16.

The site is on high ground, not far from where southbound drivers go up the hill that turns away from Masset Inlet. It is north of Pure Lake and Nadu Road.

After evacuating to the same site last year, Horner said he hopes local village officials can have a sign installed.

“It’s very confusing for people,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s a gravel quarry.”

At noon, all the pretend ‘evacuees’ will enjoy a community barbecue with hot dogs and salads.

But they can also get a taste of the freeze-dried soups they would likely be eating in case of a real tsunami.

Organized by the Haida Health Centre, the Old Massett Volunteer Fire Department and local RCMP, the exercise is part of a the Great B.C. ShakeOut drill happening across the province.

Students at Chief Matthews Elementary will join the evacuation exercise, and students at Haida Gwaii public schools will take part in the ShakeOut by ducking and covering in their classes before heading to safe areas outside their schools.

In Queen Charlotte, the tsunami siren will be tested at 10:20 a.m.

Tow Hill residents who have signed up with the Tow Hill Community Emergency Notification System can expect an annual test call and text at 10:20 a.m. To sign up for the service, call Chris Ashurst at 250-626-9463.