Thousands of people throughout the province will be taking part in the 2023 Great British Columbia ShakeOut, by practising what to do during an earthquake.
The annual ShakeOutBC event features an earthquake drill, which will take place at 10:19 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
“Each year, there about 3,000 earthquakes in B.C., most of which, fortunately, aren’t felt. With the ever-present threat of an earthquake anywhere in the province, it is critical that people know what to do when one hits,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “By practising earthquake preparedness, including creating a home emergency plan and building an emergency kit, you can help to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.”
The Province is a committed partner in the federal government’s implementation of Canada’s Earthquake Early Warning system, with the installation of sensors along the coast and throughout B.C. By spring 2024, the federal government will be able to issue alerts to mobile devices, radios and televisions to warn of a potentially harmful earthquake, giving people crucial seconds to take protective measures – drop, cover and hold on – before shaking begins.
Earlier this year, the Province put its earthquake-response strategy, and overall emergency preparedness, to the test by conducting Exercise Coastal Response, a large-scale earthquake response exercise. Hundreds of emergency management personnel participated in the three-day training exercise, responding to a simulated catastrophic 6.8-magnitude earthquake in the Lower Mainland. The results of the exercise were reviewed and lessons learned will be incorporated into future earthquake responses.
Government is taking action to make buildings and infrastructure around the province resilient to the impacts of earthquakes. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure ensures that all new bridges and highways are built to meet stringent modern seismic standards. Additionally, $5 million is allocated annually for seismic retrofits and improvements to strengthen existing structures. Further, since 2017, the Province has announced seismic upgrades or replacements for 63 schools, ensuring more than 35,000 additional students are attending schools that are seismically safe with almost $1.6 billion in provincial funding.
- There are approximately 4,000 earthquakes across Canada each year; approximately 3,000 of these occur in British Columbia.
- There have been four magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquakes in the past 130 years in southwestern B.C. and northern Washington state.
- On Jan. 26, 1700, the west coast of North America experienced a massive megathrust (magnitude 9.0) earthquake with a subsequent tsunami.
- In March 2022, the Province and Natural Resources Canada installed Canada’s first early earthquake sensor station in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, as part of the Canada Earthquake Early Warning System.
- As of fall 2023, more than half of the system’s 190 early earthquake sensors planned for B.C. have been installed, which will include 50 sensors installed by the Province.
To register and learn more about ShakeOutBC, visit: https://www.shakeoutbc.ca/
To learn more about preparing for an earthquake, visit: www.PreparedBC.ca/earthquakes
For information about how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in emergency kits, follow @PreparedBC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit: www.PreparedBC.ca