Worldwide ShakeOut day prepares people for earthquake safety

Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek ducked under her desk at 10:17 a.m. to partake in annual drill

Langley City mayor Val van den Broek was in the midst of a meeting in her office with Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar when the clock struck 10:17 a.m.

On Oct. 17, that time meant it was time to partake in ShakeOutBC drill, a yearly event to get people ready for when an earthquake occurs.

“We have to get used to doing it – train your body to know what to do when an earthquake happens,” mayor van den Broek said. “Practise, practise, practise.”

That practise meant that she, Brar, and millions of others worldwide stopped what they were doing to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” during international ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

The goal is for people to find a safe space, typically a desk or table, to take cover before intense shaking knocks them down or drops something on top of them.

An announcement went over the intercom at Timms Community Centre, inviting people to participate in the drill if they wished.

ShakeOutBC drills, which last less than one minute, are completely voluntary, but employers are being encouraged to facilitate one at their place of work and people to participate if they’re at home.

“Make sure you have your kit ready,” the mayor added, emphasizing preparedness doesn’t just end with knowing how to get under a desk or table.

”You have to be prepared to be on your own for 72 hours now. Think about your pets and your medication. Have water for three days. If you have information, text, don’t call, because the help line will be tied up,” she said.

Mayor van den Broek suggested people buy a kit or inquire about them at Langley’s Emergency Prepardness Fair.

Read More: ‘How will we tell our kids we knew about the earthquake and did nothing?’

Find more information about earthquake preparedness at

The British Columbia ShakeOut started in 2011 and is held on the third Thursday of October.


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