Recent earthquake serves as warning

Some tips on what to do if a earthquake happens in Sooke

Did you feel that last earthquake on Wednesday night last week?

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (emsc-csem.org) reported a 6.5 earthquake on northern Vancouver Island last week. Its epicentre was 85 km south-southwest of Port Alice.

Witness accounts on the EMSC detail the shakedown. “Was having a second glass of wine — thought, at first, that I better not have any more,” recorded one witness about 30 km away from the epicentre, “then realized that it was an earthquack [sic] — (better stop the wine) — lasted about ten to fifteen seconds.”

According to EarthquakesCanada.nrcan.gc.ca’s Community Interest Intensity Map, the earthquake was felt, albeit weakly, as far away as Kamloops and Kelowna.

This recent shakeup might have you thinking about your own emergency preparedness. Some of you might be smug in your existing, excellent preparedness; some might be updating your kits; and others might be wondering where to start.

Fire Chief Steve Sorensen provided a few excellent words of wisdom the day after the earthquake.

His first piece of advise was on how to assess the possibility of a tsunami.

“If the ground in Sooke shakes hard enough that you can’t stand up, this is your warning that a tsunami may be coming. Persons should evacuate all low lying areas immediately following the shaking and move to higher ground,” advised Sorensen. He added that the recommended safe-from-tsunami height in Sooke area is four metres above normal sea level.

You can find out the sea level of any particular address using Google Earth (as opposed to Google Maps), a free downloadable application.

“If a major earthquake occurs in the Cascadia Fault (the big one), the wave would be expected to hit Sooke in approximately 55 minutes,” advised Sorensen.

Jeri Grant, the Juan de Fuca (JdF) emergency coordinator, offered up an Earthquake 101. The recent earthquake happened on the Nookta fault zone. This resulted in a side-to-side shifting, which does not cause the land to thrust up. The Nootka fault experiences an earthquake about once in 10 years. The Cascadia fault, which runs from Alaska down to northern California, will result in a “subduction, or mega thrust” quake. If that were to happen, Grant informed us, there would be a substantial quake lasting two to three minutes.

In North America, the response to a quake like this is to “drop, cover and hold, and protect your head and neck,” said Grant. Stay away from windows and doorways.

A quake in the Cascadia Fault can result in a tsunami, confirmed Grant.

As soon as factual information is received by the District, said Sorensen, the Sooke Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will inform residents what to do next, using Internet and Social Networking tools like Twitter. “In the event of a major disaster, the Sooke Community Hall will be opened as an Emergency Reception Centre.”

Sorensen recommends having seven days of emergency supplies on hand. Grant echoed that, saying that number was a minimum recommendation. Ideally, everyone would have a grab-and-go kit, an emergency supply, and a car kit was well.

“A new program entitled 26 Weeks to Emergency Preparedness is also set to be launched at the beginning of May,” said Sorensen. “This will detail how to put together a seven-day emergency kit in 26 steps.”

The May 3 Sooke Rotary Auction will have Sooke Emergency Program volunteers on hand, where additional information and handouts can be obtained. There will also be a display at the very large Annual Emergency Preparedness Week display at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre in Colwood on May 4. This event runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

In the meanwhile, Sorensen recommends a website called www.prepareyourself.ca, which can help you get prepared for an emergency.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

A 45-metre tall call tower is proposed for Westhills Stadium. (Black Press Media file photo)
New cell tower proposed for Westhills Stadium in Langford

Tower will increase capacity in congested network: staff report

New population estimates peg the population of Greater Victoria at 408,883 as of July 1, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Population estimates peg Greater Victoria’s population at 408,883

New estimates show regional population grew by 1.35 per cent

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)
Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

Registered nurse Sammy Mullally displayed a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., in 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Councillors call on Saanich address overdose crisis, explore options for safe consumption sites

‘There’s no vaccine for this problem,’ new action is needed, councillors say

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Most Read