On Oct. 18 there will be an earthquake drill in B.C. called “The Great Shake out.” It is a big event in which parents, teachers, students, and workers from all over B.C. are becoming involved.

The event is now an annual occasion that recognizes practice is better than panic in our seismically active area. The event helps to establish awareness, practice procedures, and hone skills for hundreds of volunteers so they can be ready in case of an actual earthquake.

VIU is emphasizing a “Stop, drop, and hang on” policy, which may end up saving many lives. You are way safer under a desk, table, or chair in our campus’ earthquake prepared buildings than you would be if you ran out of a shaking classroom or across a moving floor. This would put you in the middle of the most dangerous site in any building during an earthquake: the transition zone—the outsides of buildings, which have fascia, glass windows, over hangs, and heavy doors that can swing about during an earthquake.

In conversation with Craig Hanson, VIU Nanaimo campus’ Facilities Planner and Developer, I learned that the University has been involved in a series of upgrades. This involves structural changes such as building enhancement, ceiling stiffeners to prevent roof harmonics, and the chaining of ceiling lights and other suspended material. It would also include non-structural changes such as placing film on the windows to secure the glass in case of breakage, and securing cases, cabinets, and shelving to the wall. There will also be automatic flow interrupters for the gas systems, and entrance cover protection to prevent issues of falling fascia.

Repetition and exercise can help to train your body to do what has to be done to minimize injuries during seismic events.

If you look to Japan their experiences clearly show riding it out under the furniture is better than being caught in the middle of it.

If this interests you and you want to know more consider being part of the “Great Shake Out” Challenge, visit their website at <www.Shakeoutbc./register>.

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