Are you ready for the Big One?

By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications

You’re working at your desk when suddenly the room begins to sway and shake. It’s an earthquake. What do you do?

On Oct. 18*, in an effort to prepare for a potential earthquake, Douglas College students, employees and visitors will participate in an earthquake drill at both campuses. Those at Coquitlam campus will also have the opportunity to experience what an earthquake feels like in the ShakeZone Earthquake Simulator.

“Seismic experts tell us that we can expect a major destructive earthquake in B.C.,” says Nancy Constable, Director of Safety, Security and Risk Management. “We don’t know when it might hit. This drill is about practicing how to protect ourselves when it does.”

An announcement will inform those on campus when the drill begins. When you hear the announcement, carefully drop to the ground, take cover under a desk or table and hold on. If you are not near a desk or table, or are physically unable to drop, cover and hold on, cover your head and neck with your arms and crouch in a corner, away from any glass. The drill will last around 90 seconds. You will be advised when it is over.

The ShakeZone simulator will be set up at Pinetree Community Centre (1260 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) from 8:30am-3pm. The ShakeZone is a mobile trailor that shakes and moves – giving you a chance to safely experience the effects of a major earthquake. Along with the simulator there will also be on-site displays with loads of helpful information that will help you prepare for the big one!

Constable says it’s crucial people are prepared to take the correct action in an earthquake.

“This is about how to take that immediate life-saving, injury-reducing action. In a small or moderate quake you may hear objects rattling in your office or classroom, or feel a quiver under your feet. In a large quake, the ground or floor will move – possibly violently – and you may feel dizzy and unable to walk. You will probably feel shaking and rolling,” she says. “You need to drop, cover and hold on.”

*Note: The Great British Columbia ShakeOut will be on Oct. 19. Douglas College is holding the drill one day early to correspond with the simulator’s visit.

Feature image shows kids in the ShakeZone simulator.

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