Quake should be wakeup call for the Big One

Saturday evening's earthquake should serve as a wakeup call, according to the Comox Valley Emergency Program (CVEP).

Although most Comox Valley residents likely didn’t feel a thing, Saturday evening’s earthquake should serve as a wakeup call, according to the Comox Valley Emergency Program (CVEP).

“There really seems to be a complacency, but once something happens, people do get busy and they start asking for presentations and briefings and ‘Where can I get this information, where can I get that information?’ ” says the CVEP’s deputy emergency program co-ordinator Dave Carmichael. “We know that the Big One that everybody talks about is going to happen — we just don’t know when it’s going to happen — so we need to prepare.”

A 7.7-magnitude earthquake — the strongest in Canada in over 60 years — struck off the coast of Haida Gwaii around 8 p.m. Saturday. A tsunami warning was issued for a number of low-lying coastal areas, including Port Hardy at the tip of Vancouver Island, and numerous aftershocks followed. Some people were evacuated, though the tsunami warnings were later lifted and evacuees were allowed to return home.

Carmichael says he hasn’t heard from anyone who felt the quake in the Comox Valley and the CVEP only had to send out e-mails to members of the emergency program planning committee to let them know the earthquake happened. This part of the Island didn’t have a tsunami advisory, which he says is the lowest level of tsunami warning.

Courtenay resident Nadja Recktenwald didn’t feel the earthquake — but saw it — when she was having dinner with her sister.

“We were sitting there just joking a little bit and having some good dinner conversation and we both looked up and went ‘Oh,’ the chandelier was swinging as if a monkey was hanging off of it,” recalls Recktenwald.

“We never found out, until 10 minutes after, a friend had called and said ‘Oh did you feel anything?’ We just laughed about the chandelier; we didn’t feel anything.”

While some people may have noticed small things like swinging chandeliers around here, people on the islands of Haida Gwaii and nearby places like Prince Rupert gave accounts of the ground moving like a wave.

There are no reports of major damage or injuries and Carmichael noted the earthquake was a “sliding earthquake” which is generally a “low-damage” earthquake.

Carmichael says the first thing to do in order to be prepared for an emergency situation is to create a ‘grab n’ go bag.’

He notes the bag should contain items like: copies of your insurance papers, a copy of your birth certificate or passport, other important papers, some extra medication if needed, an extra pair of glasses, a bit of cash and a clean change of clothes.

Other items listed on Public Safety Canada’s Your Emergency Preparedness Guide include water, non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, extra sets of keys and a flashlight, among other things. Carmichael says there should be one grab n’ go bag per person and that people should be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours in an emergency situation.

He adds emergency operations centres would be set up by local governments and reception centres would be set up in places like gymnasiums and churches.

Carmichael says it’s very important to register at a reception centre during an evacuation so that people know you’re safe — something he says is often overlooked by the public in emergency situations.

The CVEP offers emergency preparedness presentations to anyone who would like to learn how to prepare for an emergency, and its website, www.comoxvalleyemergencyprogram.com, features links to a wealth of information.

Overall, Carmichael notes the Comox Valley is in a good situation when it comes to being prepared for emergencies.

“It’s important for people to know that the Comox Valley is well-prepared,” he says. “We have excellent fire departments, we have very good policing, the folks who manage the infrastructure, either those working for the City of Courtenay or the folks who are hired by the Comox Valley Regional District, all those there, they are trained on how to get things better quickly.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

AspieComic Micheal McCreary coming to the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Child Development Association hosting the fundraising event

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

VIDEO: Snowbirds arrive in Comox for annual spring training

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds have arrived in Comox for their annual spring… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read