Oct. 16 Is Shake Out BC Day—Time to Think about Earthquake Preparedness

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Today is Shake Out BC Day, a day dedicated to earthquake preparedness. Although BC is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes, other parts of Canada are also susceptible.

For example, in June 2010, a moderate earthquake rattled east-central Canada. It caused tall buildings to sway in Ottawa, Toronto and Detroit, MI. The quake was also felt in Québec.

How can you prepare your workplace for an earthquake if it’s in an area vulnerable to this natural disaster?

Use this checklist. It outlines seven sets of activities companies should take to prepare for an earthquake, along with specific measures for each step you should implement.

For example, do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall or topple over during earthquakes and secure them. Look for non-structural items (such as bookshelves, equipment, etc.) that might fall and cause possible injuries and move or secure these items to provide a safer environment. (Here’s an example of how not to secure items in the event of an earthquake.)

Also, make sure your workers know that, during an earthquake, they should Drop, Cover and Hold On:

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops them!)
  • COVER their head and neck with their arms and seek shelter by getting under a nearby sturdy desk or table. If there’s no table or desk around, they should move to an inside corner of the room.
  • HOLD ON to their shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

In addition, ensure that your emergency preparedness and response plan covers earthquakes. (Go to the OHS Insider’s Emergency Preparedness & Response Compliance Centre for information, resources and tools on preparing for and responding to earthquakes, other natural disasters and other kinds of emergencies.)

And don’t forget to regularly test emergency equipment, such as emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, etc, to ensure that they’re operating properly.