Small quake should shake us into planning

Are you prepared if there’s an emergency like an earthquake?

Are you prepared if there’s an emergency like an earthquake?

When the earth moved on Tuesday night, the brief shaking made books jump on shelves, ornaments rattle on Christmas trees and animals startle, but fortunately, it wasn’t enough to cause injury of any kind or, in some cases, even wake people from sleep.

But that won’t be true when the big one hits. No, that’s not crazy talk from someone who’s watched too many disaster movies, it’s what scientists have been telling us for decades: the big one could hit us at any time here on the B.C. coast.

Think more like what happened in Japan in 2011, where the country was not only devastated by the quake itself but also by the subsequent tsunami that swamped coastal communities and towns for kilometres, than our little rumble.

There, the shaking lasted many minutes, rather than the mere seconds we experienced last week, and numerous aftershocks continued to wreak havoc for many days afterwards.

This kind of quake is a question of when for Vancouver Island, not if.

Last week’s small quake should serve to shake us up enough to check our emergency stores, if we have them, and to find out what we need to get if we don’t.

It’s really a small thing to do that could pay big dividends in the future.

The kinds of things that you need include water, water purification tablets, canned food and other non-perishables or specially prepared rations, a first aid kit, sanitary wipes, pet food if you have furry family members, matches, a wind up or battery radio, and something to keep you warm. If you’re unsure about what to get, there are plenty of good links with lots of suggestions, including on the Cowichan Valley Regional District website. Look under the “How do I” tab for the “Prepare For a Disaster” link.

As well as having material preparations in place, it’s also a good idea to talk with your family about how you are going to communicate. Designating an out-of-area person that everyone can contact is a good idea, along with having a designated meeting spot that everyone will gravitate towards.

Preparing now can make the difference between life and death later.