Haida Gwaii students schooled in the Great Shakeout

  • Oct. 13, 2015 1:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverPrecisely at 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15 several schools and organizations on Haida Gwaii will be participating in the 2015 Great BC Shakeout, a drill designed by the BC Earthquake Alliance Society to prepare British Columbians for a major seismic event. The society hopes to conduct the drill every year, modelled on the success of the Great California Shakeout. The drill asks people to “drop, cover and hold on” for up to two minutes in response to a simulated earthquake event. The largest earthquake in Canada occurred on Haida Gwaii in 1949, registering at a magnitude 8.1. Canada’s second largest earthquake was also on Haida Gwaii on Oct. 27, 2012, registering at magnitude 7.8. Most islanders have experienced an earthquake and this drill is hoped to enhance public awareness of earthquake hazards and encourage personal preparedness. Queen Charlotte Secondary School and other island schools will be holding their own Great BC Shakeout on Oct. 15. All students and staff will practise the age old “Drop, Cover and Hold on” drill while pretending to have an earthquake. Organizers encourage people wherever they may be at 10:15 a.m. to participate in the drill, just as if a major earthquake is occurring at that very moment, and stay in the position for at least 60 seconds.But it’s probably a good idea to let people know what you’re doing ahead of time. There will not be any highway closures, planned power outages, or other simulated effects of the hypothetical earthquake. The Shakeout BC Organization Committee is encouraging individuals and organizations to register at www.shakeoutbc.ca to be counted. The drill was originally scheduled for January 29 of each year to mark the 311th anniversary of the last magnitude-9 earthquake in B.C. This date conflicted with Secondary Schools provincial exams and now has been changed to the third Thursday of each October.

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