Friday’s devastating earthquake in Japan served as a reminder of what could happen in the Comox Valley when and if a big one strikes Vancouver Island.
In the past few days, hardware retailers have noticed slight increases in sales of emergency supplies.
At the Home Depot in Courtenay, for instance, assistant manager Eric McCullough said there has been a “little bit of a bump” in sales of 24-packs of bottled water and flashlights, along with the odd first aid kit and travel pack.
“I haven’t seen any generator sales increase,” he said.
Staff on the Home Depot projects committee have put together emergency kits that contain water, hammers, bungee cords, flashlights, a tarp, rope, first aid supplies, multi-tools, dust masks, gloves and a bucket to wheel the items around. The kits also include mini pry bars, in the event objects have landed on top of a person.
“I think we even have chocolate bars thrown in a couple of them,” McCullough said. “There’s quite a multitude of stuff, depending on which one you get. Just the little things that you don’t think of when all of a sudden you’re in a debris field. What do you need?”
Friday’s quake registered 8.9 on the Richter scale and triggered a tsunami. Upwards of 2,400 deaths have been confirmed and about 15,000 people are missing.
“Not anticipating any tsunamis or earthquakes here, but one should always be prepared,” McCullough said.
More than 1,200 small- to medium-size earthquakes are recorded each year in B.C., according to the Provincial Emergency Program. Drop, Cover and Hold On is recognized as the appropriate action to best protect oneself in the event of an earthquake. Steps can be taken to avoid injury, minimize damage to homes and survive afterwards for at least 72 hours without help.
The PEP program suggests the following items are needed during the 72-hour period:
- • Water: at least two litres per person per day;
- • Food;
- • Manual can opener;
- • Flashlight and batteries;
- • Candles and matches or lighter;
- • Battery-powered or wind-up radio (and extra batteries);
- • First aid kit;
- • Special items such as prescription medications, infant formula and equipment for people with disabilities;
- • Extra car and house keys;
- • Cash.
- More earthquake coverage, pages 3 and 6.