Three crisp honks from an air horn in Saanich municipal hall marked the drop, cover and hold on drill during the Great B.C. ShakeOut on Thursday.
Mayor Richard Atwell was in council chambers at the time and ducked under a sturdy desk.
“I think a lot of the challenge is in preparing mentally, not just physically,” said Atwell, whose emergency kit is ready at his Royal Oak home.
This year’s focus at Saanich was preparing staff in the work place, as staff will have many responsibilities in the case of an earthquake and they need to be ready, said Capt. Maeghan Thompson of Saanich Fire Department’s Emergency Program.
What residents need, first and foremost, is to have emergency supplies ready.
“Take a look around the house before you go shopping for items in the emergency kit because a lot of what you need is already there,” Thompson said.
Secondly, it’s important to have an emergency kit ready not just to be prepared, but to also be ready to help others, Atwell said.
“With my emergency kit ready, my goal is to know what neighbours are alone, and who might need help in an emergency,” Atwell said.
Being prepared if a disaster strikes at work isn’t often thought about, but it’s where most people are during the day. Think again about night time, as we spend 35 per cent of the day in the bedroom, Thompson said.
“Having bookshelves attached to the wall [studs] is a great idea, not having heavy items over beds or cribs, too,” Thompson said. “The biggest thing other than physical readiness is communication, like the mayor said, knowing what strengths and weaknesses are in you neighbourhood. First responders are going to be busy, find out who can do what in your neighbourhood.”
Some things residents can consider include:
· Discussing a number of scenarios with your family and making a plan for each.
· Determining a meeting place for your family and establishing a communication plan.
· Storing seasonal clothing and footwear at work.
· Making a plan to get home from work if roads are closed to traffic.
· Having essential items at work such a medications, glasses and contact information.