Drop, cover and hold on.
At 10:17 a.m. Thursday, more than 640,000 British Columbians will do just that, as part of the annual the Great British Columbia ShakeOut, an event that helps families, employers and groups be prepared to survive and recover quickly from earthquakes.
More than 14,000 people have registered for the drill in the Comox Valley, and included in those numbers are students and staff of School District 71.
“All schools and each site will be participating in the drill in one way or another,” explained Paul Berry, district principal for heath and safety for the Comox Valley School District.
Berry added all schools and offices in the district are focused on emergency preparedness in the coming weeks, not only for earthquakes, but to be prepared for any type of emergency.
“Every site will have a 40-foot container that will be fully stocked with supplies to last 72 hours,” he said, and added another goal in the coming school year is to test the district-wide communication system, in case phone or Internet goes down.
Some of the district staff will be trained in light urban search-and-rescue as well, he noted.
“The challenge is to dispel the belief for people that we would send students home to their families (in the case of an emergency). We have the responsibility first and foremost to the students in the school. We will hold them at the schools and have the parents come to them,” Berry added.
The Great British Columbia ShakeOut includes resources on their website on simple drop, cover and hold on drills, along with information on what to do after an earthquake and how to conduct a tsunami drill.
Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. The drill encourages individuals to identify safe places (under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall) for when the shaking begins.
For more information on emergency planning, earthquake preparedness and to register for the The Great British Columbia ShakeOut, visit www.shakeoutbc.ca.