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Shake Out BC Oct 18 2012

Earthquake preparedness & planning drill

At 10:18 am on October the 18th, as part of 'Shake Out BC' I'm planning a household emergency preparedness earthquake drill. I'll set an alarm to remind me, then go about my work-day as usual. I work from home, so that's the place I'd be most likely to be in the event of a real natural disaster. When my alarm goes off, signaling the onset of the simulated earthquake, I'll 'drop, cover, and hold on' - although I'm more likely to remember it as 'duck and cover' the dubious instructions we were given in school to prepare for nuclear attack.

So I'll likely find myself under my desk at 10:18, unless I've gone to the kitchen to make coffee, then I'll be under the dining table, or in a hall closet in between. I'll spend two minutes trying to imagine all the things that will fall down, tip over, break or otherwise cause a hazard or obstruction.

After the brief and imaginary quake, I'll emerge from my hiding spot, and start on my check list. In a real earthquake I'm sure the first thing I'd want to do would be to check my family and my cats, so on my checklist first is to go through the house and check everyone. I'll try to imagine all the parts of the house that might be obstructed by falling objects, and how I'd get around them. Next item on my checklist is my first aid kit - I'll try to imagine how access to it could be blocked and what I can do to prevent that in the future. I'll also use this chance to check on the contents of my first aid kits, and make sure nothing has expired, or been used up and not replaced.

The rest of my checklist includes other items I imagine I'll need immediately after an earthquake (and I'll try to remember to imagine the aftershocks while I'm doing all this) such as my radio equipment (are both my 12v batteries charged? what's going to fall on my indoor antenna? can anything fall and block the door to that room?), flashlights (I've got lots, but can I find them quickly and do they work?) emergency supplies of food and water. Evacuation is a possibility in several kinds of natural disaster, although maybe not too likely after an earthquake - but I'll use this drill to check over my 'grab and go' bag, the cat-carriers and other evacuation-scenario equipment too.

Once I've gone through my checklist and made some notes about hazards, possible obstructions/accessibility issues, and ways I can improve the household state of readiness, I'm going to go through the whole house, and think about sources of danger, and what might be done about it. I'm sure I'll come up with more questions than answers, but it's a place to start. For example - what happens to the propane tanks on BBQ's in an earthquake? And what would we do about a leak or a crack? I've got tanks for my welding equipment, but Argon is inert - and the tanks could be safely vented out of doors. We have a wood burning stove that might be dangerous if we were using it when the earthquake started - if the sections of stove-pipe worked themselves loose, the room would fill with smoke fairly quickly - what could be done about that? I'm sure I won't come up with a perfect plan for every situation, but giving it some thought now might prove to be worthwhile later.

So that's my plan for the annual earthquake drill - what's your next emergency preparation drill plan?


Shake Out BC October 18 2012 - visit for more information Shake-Out BC
For more information on Shake-Out BC visit here:

Global Shake Out Website -

More Earthquake Preparedness Resources

Drop, Cover and Hold On -

Ways to secure your stuff -

Earthquake Country Alliance - -

Emergency Survival Program -

Earthquakes: What to do? PDF From Public Safety Canada:

Emergency info in BC:

For Kids

Disaster Preparedness Colouring book from FEMA:

Earthquake hazards colouring pages from the US Geological Survey (USGS):

Earthquake hazards puzzles and games from the USGS:

Master of Disaster Earthquake activity sheets from the American Red Cross:

Let's Learn to Prevent Disasters from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):

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Thanks for visiting... hope to meet you on the air! 73
~ Andrea VA7ALG


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