Q&A with Prof. Ventura: preparing for an earthquake in BC

Thursday, October 15, 2015 | By Lindsay Cashin

October 15 is officially ShakeOut BC Day, and more than 750,000 British Columbians are expected to participate in this year’s drill. In this Q&A, UBC earthquake safety expert Carlos Ventura talks about the nature of earthquakes and what’s being done to ensure that the buildings where we live, study and work are earthquake-ready.

There’s a lot of talk about B.C. being overdue for the Big One: an earthquake of 9.0 magnitude or greater. Is the province ready for a major quake?

It’s important to understand that it’s not only the magnitude of the earthquake that determines its impact. Smaller earthquakes, if they occur near urban areas, can cause significant damage. That said, the province is more prepared for an earthquake in the sense that government, scientists, educators, and the news media have been actively spreading safety awareness. Everyone should know the drill by heart: drop, cover and hold on. Recognize quickly that it is an earthquake and don’t panic. Hide under a sturdy table or desk, or crouch near an inside corner of the building. Stay there until the shaking stops. Many earthquake-related injuries in North America are due to falling objects, not buildings collapsing. Once the shaking has stopped, leave your house or building if you can do so safely, and grab your emergency kit if you have one.

For the full Q&A, visit UBC News.