The countdown is on to the Great British Columbia Shakeout.

Tomorrow morning at 10:17 a.m., millions worldwide will practise how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills. 

You can join by registering for the 2019 Great British Columbia ShakeOut. Click here to sign up.

In B.C., there are more than 930,000 people taking part in the shakeout.

Over 65 million people are participating worldwide.

It’s the largest-ever earthquake drill in B.C.

As of today, there are 14,395 people taking part in the Comox Valley including 11,217 students and school staff. 

In the Strathcona Regional District, nearly 7,100 people are involved including more than 4,800 students and school district staff. 

Powell River has more than 3,100 people doing the ShakeOut. This includes just over 2,500 students and school district staff. 

And in the Mount Waddington Regional District, just over 2,500 people are taking part.

BC ShakeOut spokesperson Aaron Sutherland said we face a significant earthquake risk in the southwestern part of the province.

“The experts tell us there is a one in three chance of a significant earthquake striking this region within the next 50 years, so it really is a question of when, not if.”

Sutherland said the ShakeOut is all about knowing what to do in the event of an earthquake.

“It’s practising, building that muscle memory so you instinctively know when the ground starts shaking to drop, cover, and hold on.”

Sutherland noted that nearly a quarter of the B.C.’s population is taking part in the drill.

“That’s a tremendous response that we’ve seen and hopefully all of this goes a long way to building our preparedness as a society to make us more resilient because when it comes to earthquake risk, it really is a question of when, and not if.”

Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill is important because you may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake before strong shaking knocks you down – or drops something on you. 

If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, then Drop, Cover and Hold On:

  • drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • hold on to it until the shaking stops.

Stay indoors till the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in B.C., you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops.

If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then Drop, Cover and Hold On. Stay there until the shaking stops.

If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.

Ground shaking during an earthquake is seldom the cause of injury. 

Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by collapsing walls and roofs, flying glass and falling objects. 

Try to move as little as possible to reach the place of safety because most injuries occur when people try to move more than a short distance during the shaking.