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BC ShakeOut drill gives opportunity for improvement

Powell River drops covers and holds on

Powell River Peak staff were left shaking on the floor yesterday morning. Shaking with laughter that is, having a little fun during a province-wide event to encourage earthquake preparedness.

At 10 am on Wednesday, January 26, 2,469 people in Powell River, including the Peak staff, dropped to the floor, crawled under desks or tables and held on as if the “big one” had hit. A total of 460,000 British Columbians were registered for the event, making it the largest earthquake drill in Canadian history.

Schools, businesses and individuals throughout the Powell River region took part. Emergency Program Coordinator for the Powell River Regional District Ryan Thoms sent out an email immediately following the “earthquake” congratulating all who participated and heralding the success of the event both locally and provincially.

With more than fair warning and an unrealistic countdown to the main event, the Peak staff put aside work for a minute to huddle under desks and hold on for safety. Laura Walz, editor, took photographs during the event, which would be ill-advised during a real earthquake but considering it was a drill and an opportunity to cover a story without leaving the office it was allowed.

The event provided an opportunity, as was intended, to walk around the office afterward and consider how the office could be more “earthquake resistant.” A number of bookshelves were pointed out as being in need of fastening, some desks were identified as being too small to fully protect a person and there was general discussion about what the greatest risks were. All told the event was a great opportunity to take a moment to prepare for a potentially disastrous event that could occur at any time.