Published Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:20PM PDT
Experts say British Columbians should always be ready for earthquakes and tsunamis.
The most important way to be earthquake ready is having an established plan, including having enough critical supplies for yourself and your family for at least three days -- also known as "the three-day rule."
The City of Vancouver is holding several earthquake preparedness seminars in coming weeks. A full schedule is available here.
Here's what you need to know to prepare yourself and your family for a major earthquake:
Emergency Preparedness Plan (from Vancouver's Fire and Rescue Services):
- Stock up on at least a three-day supply of water, food and medical supplies for all.
- Exit plan: Decide where and when to reunite your family after an emergency
- Phone a friend: Choose a person at least 300 kilometres away from where you live to contact if your family becomes separated. Long distance phone service is often restored faster than local lines
- Be prepared: Practice emergency exit plans with your family every six months.
- Know the safest place in each room because it will be difficult to move from room to room
- Locate shutoff valves for electricity, water and gas. Know how to use them
- Make copies of vital records and keep them in another city/province
- Take photos and/or videos of your valuables for insurance purposes
- Keep an extra set of glasses and car keys on hand
- Keep extra cash and change. In case of an emergency, it is unlikely ATM's will work
- Keep an emergency kit. Check and replace items every six months
Tips for if you are at home during a quake:
- Keep your hallway clear. It is usually one of the safest places to be in an earthquake
- Stay away from kitchens and garages, which tend to be the most dangerous places because of the many items that are stored there
- Stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, glass panes, shelves holding objects, and large masonry - like fireplaces
Basic emergency kit supplies:
- One litre of water per person per day
- Non-perishable food
- First-aid supplies and training
- Pet supplies
- Battery-operated radio
- Flashlights with extra batteries
Important emergency preparedness links:
- Provincial Emergency Program's Earthquake and Tsunami Manual
- Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP/City of Vancouver)
- Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services
- Provincial Emergency Preparedness Programme (PEP)
- Emergency Preparedness Week (Canada) 1st week in May.
- Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (Is Your Family Prepared?)
- Washington State - 3 Days, 3 Ways, Are You Ready?
- San Francisco (Office of Emergency Services)
First Aid and Survival Technologies Limited (F.A.S.T.) in Delta, B.C., makes earthquake kits you can keep at home. More information about ordering the kits is available on their website.