Much of the work is being done incrementally -- retrofits dovetailing with routine maintenance, schools being renovated one by one and new construction projects being subject to updated quake-resistant requirements. Engineer and seismic specialist John Sherstobitoff praised the province on its disaster preparedness, saying the government has learned from the responses of other jurisdictions to earthquakes.
Scientists have determined the likelihood of another serious quake happening in the next 50 years is one in 10. Pressure between the two undersea plates of the Cascadia subduction zone, located off Vancouver Island, has been building since the slabs last slipped in a major way in 1700.
The occurrence of such a calamitous event nowadays has the potential to destroy not only human life but also the province's pocket book, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The City of Vancouver replaces about 0.5 per cent -- or six kilometres -- of its water mains a year, switching out brittle cast-iron material with a more resilient ductile iron.
Vancouver is also in the process of assessing its 560 municipal buildings for seismic upgrades. The cumulative economic loss from building damage and service disruption was estimated at just under $3 billion. Metro Vancouver has seismically upgraded its water reservoirs and is looking at a program to bring its sewage system up to date. A spokeswoman from Victoria said the city has managed to protect the historic portion of city hall and its next priority is the fire department headquarters.
Beyond seismic upgrades, some experts argue the province needs to go further with its mitigation efforts.
Ocean Networks Canada spokesman Teron Moore said British Columbia is missing the same kind of offshore early-warning system already in place in Japan and along sections of the U.S. Japan's technology is also integrated directly into its infrastructure, said Moore, so when an earthquake is detected not only are emergency personnel notified but trains automatically slow down, gas valves shut off and elevator doors open, for example.
Moore said improving Canada's capacity to detect quakes earlier will require more funding and better collaboration between the various organizations that operate sensors along the coast, such as Natural Resources Canada, the University of British Columbia and the provincial Transport Ministry. An effective early-warning system could buy valuable seconds or even minutes to prepare before disaster struck, he added.

Pete McMartin: We know who we are here in Canada, eh?In the early 1970s, I found myself in Toronto, fleeing a Windsor car assembly line for university. Watch: Follow McFogg the Dog around SFU to learn what to do in an earthquake AND hear from President Andrew Petter about how to get prepared! The drill is also to encourage individuals and organizations, such as SFU, to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space (work, class, home) in order to prevent damage and injuries.
Check out the resources on this page about what to do in an earthquake, secure your space, update emergency kits, and talk with your family, colleagues, and friends about earthquake preparedness. For departments looking to participate in ShakeOut, check out the new SFU Earthquake Safety Office Audit.
SFU Burnaby Childcare will be performing the Drop, Cover, and Hold with all their staff and children, followed by a full evacuation drill to their designated assembly area.
Join Residence Life in the Dining Hall for dinner to learn more about Earthquake safety, see ResLife staff in action, and enter for the chance to win prizes (including GIFT CARDS!!). From 9:30-Noon, drop by a participation zone to pick up earthquake safety information, learn more about the drill, AND at 10:15am DROP, COVER, HOLD-ON!
A disaster support hub sign (above) indicates a site where people can gather following an earthquake.
The City of Vancouver has installed disaster support hub signs at 25 locations across the city. The ensuing megathrust quake decimated the Pacific Northwest coastline and sent a four-storey tsunami on a nine-hour journey across the ocean before it plowed into Japan. It has whittled down the list to 56 and a city spokesman said the final cut is expected sometime next year.
Three quarters of people expect their home could be damaged by an earthquake, yet 78 per cent don’t know how to prepare their home.
Another two oil-soaked birds have been rescued from the spill site and are being cared for by volunteers in Maidstone. Most know the likelihood of a significant earthquake hitting, yet 65 per cent don’t know the best way to stay safe.

Overall, British Columbians scored a disheartening D grade for their preparedness knowledge and that’s something we want to help improve.We’d expected to find people weren’t prepared but what alarmed us was that people didn’t know how to prepare. Although 80 per cent underestimated the geographical areas at highest risk, most realize earthquakes are everyday occurrences. Another silver lining from the research is that over 80 per cent said they wanted to improve their preparedness knowledge — so despite some apathy, there’s hope!
Day and is an opportunity for anyone to join over 650,000 British Columbians, including BCAA employees, in the Great British Columbia ShakeOut — part of the world’s largest earthquake drill.About a third of the cost of earthquake damage to homes can relate to non-structural damage, so while securing bookcases and water heaters to wall studs and placing Velcro strips or non-slip mats under your TV and heavy ornaments may sound trivial, it could make a significant difference to the extent of damage your home sustains. There’s plenty of information out there on how to secure your home — just seek professional assistance for any work you’re not confident about doing yourself.Another element to preparedness is to protect against your financial losses through earthquake insurance. In our survey, only seven per cent of people knew that base home insurance policies typically cover only fire or explosion directly caused by an earthquake. Just 21 per cent know that the insurance industry doesn’t provide coverage for tsunami damage. Perhaps worst of all, 51 per cent either didn’t have earthquake coverage or didn’t know if they did.
Regardless of whom you’re insured with, discuss what coverage you have, what’s available, what is and isn’t covered and how much it costs — ask about the separate deductible as well as the premium.Preparedness information is readily available and most sources provide similar guidance. Our research is just one way we hope to encourage people to take earthquake risks seriously.Preparedness will dictate how well British Columbians can recover from an earthquake, and how quickly.
It is our belief that a widely unprepared population could directly contribute to an extended period of economic and social distress for our province in the aftermath of a damaging earthquake. It’s time to start this conversation and to get people thinking — and acting.As an organization focused on helping people stay safe on the roads, when travelling and at home, we’ve resolved to put preparedness at the top of our list.

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