One tip that Simon Fraser University geoscientist Brent Ward has for families preparing for an earthquake on Vancouver Island is to get a communication plan in place.
“You want to have a way for the family to get together because cell phones won’t work,” he said. “You need a family plan.”
That’s because, he said, earthquakes can happen at any time and if one happens during a working day, children are likely to be at school while many parents will be at work.
He said having an out-of-province contact can also prove invaluable.
“Phone calls outside the area are more likely to go through,” he said. “You might want to have a friend or relative in the Interior or in Alberta you can call and leave messages with, so you can tell them where you want everyone to meet.”
British Columbia’s Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) suggests any family plan take a number of factors into consideration, including where to find safe exits from both your home and neighbourhood, a pre-arranged meeting place to reunite family, designating a person to pick up your children, should you be unavailable, contact people close by and out of town, health insurance information and places for your pet to stay.
All adult family members should also be sure to know the location of fire extinguishers, water valves, electrical panels, gas valves and floor drains.
Each family should also make an emergency kit, which includes items such as water, food, flashlights, a can opener, cash, keys and a first aid kit. For more information visit www.getprepared.gc.ca.