When it comes to “the big one,” a massive earthquake expected to shake the Lower Mainland and register greater than a 9.o magnitude, experts are often quoted as saying “it’s not if, it’s when.”
The “when” is what’s got Ginger Sherlock, program coordinator with the Langley Emergency Program (LEP), inspired to get locals prepared.
The bi-annual Langley Emergency Preparedness Fair at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) , 20901 Langley Bypass, will touch on survival methods before, during, and after earthquakes, tsunamis, and other emergencies, Saturday, Oct. 5.
“This is a chance for first responders to spend time with the public, answer questions, and get a chance to talk about what they do,” Sherlock said.
LEP itself is a joint program run by the City and Township of Langley which started in 1996. Local governments were mandated by the province to ensure the community was ready to respond and recover from potential risks.
The Township Fire Department, Langley City Fire Department, local RCMP detachment members, and Search and Rescue teams will be on site along with some of their emergency vehicles.
Mayor Jack Froese and Mayor Val ven den Broek will speak at 11:30 a.m., along with representatives from KPU and Emergency Management B.C.
Fire crews will also be facilitating a “Safety House,” a simulator to teach kids how to be safe when it comes to fire safety in the home.
Sherlock said much of the day will be spent readying Langleyites for the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill happening on Oct. 17.
“We want to encourage Langley to practise drop, cover, and hold on – this increases survival,” Sherlock added. “We want to show that Langley is prepared.”
An earthquake simulator, brought up from California, will be onsite to take people through protocols of what happens if such an event does ever occur.
“You are sitting and witnessing the earthquake and actually feeling it,” Sherlock explained. “The Earth is jerky and people always say ‘wow, I really couldn’t stand up’ and people who have actually lived through an earthquake are brought right back to that moment.”
Sherlock said one of the biggest takeaways from the event not often talked about is to get people aware and prepared to camp for two weeks.
“No matter your job, everyone needs to know how to camp for two weeks. We are not going to get help from down south or possibly even east of the Rockies if there is an earthquake,” Sherlock explained. “We all came from pioneers and can do it, we just have to be ready. Otherwise, after it happens, how will we tell our kids we knew about the Earthquake and did nothing?”
The chance to sign up for Personal Preparedness Sessions and even the possibility of winning an earthquake kit will be available at the fair. Everything is free to the public and runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The fair coincides with Fire Prevention Week, where Langley City Fire Rescue Service will hold Firefighter Grocery Bagging events on Oct. 4. Fire crews will be handing out free reusable shopping tote per family while sharing fire safety tips at local supermarkets.
On Thursday, Oct.10, between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., residents are additionally invited to Langley City Fire Hall (5785 203 St) to meet the firefighters and Sparky the fire dog.
For more information and emergency tips, people can visit www.langleyprepared.ca.
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