St. John’s reminds B.C. residents to drop, cover and hold on

Every year on the third Thursday of October, ShakeOut BC Day emphasizes the importance of earthquake and emergency preparedness.



The “big one” – a megathrust earthquake – has been looming over coastal British Columbia, projecting a catastrophe unseen in the region for over 300 years.

Experts estimate that a 7.3-magnitude earthquake would kill nearly 10,000 and injure 128,000 people.

Every year on the third Thursday of October, ShakeOut BC Day emphasizes the importance of earthquake and emergency preparedness.

According to Karen MacPherson, CEO of St. John Ambulance B.C. and Yukon, initiatives like ShakeOut BC remind residents that there is no room for complacency when it comes to being prepared for natural disasters.

At 10:15 AM on Oct. 15, ShakeOut BC encourages everyone to take 60 seconds out of their day to Drop to the ground, take Cover under something sturdy, and Hold on tight.

“When panic sets in, it’s difficult to remember what to do, so our advice is to be prepared. Develop your own family emergency plan so that every family member is well equipped, practice putting this plan into action regularly, and prepare an emergency kit,” MacPherson said.

“As B.C.’s auditor general acknowledged last year, British Columbians are not as prepared as they could be, but rather than focusing on the problem, we should focus on the solution. It’s time we leveraged events like ShakeOut BC to empower residents to take responsibility for their own emergency preparedness no matter where they are – at home, at work or on the road. Experts also advise that preparing for an earthquake is a strategic way of preparing for most natural disasters.”

As one of Canada’s leading first aid providers and safety training organizations, St. John Ambulance has developed a series of emergency preparedness kits aimed at providing individuals and families with the resources to be ready for emergencies like an earthquake.

They say the key is to plan to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours.

The organization will also be participating in Earthquake Day –a day-long, free public event centred around the 10:15 am Shakeout BC drill on Oct. 15.

The event aims to build awareness about earthquake risk and preparedness in our communities, and to promote and share the exciting work happening in the areas of earthquake mitigation, response and recovery.

As you finalize your own preparations for ShakeOut BC Day, St. John Ambulance – B.C./Yukon offers these tips for staying safe in an earthquake:

Move or turn away from window

Drop, cover, and hold to keep from falling over, or being knocked down – remember to protect your head and neck

Look for something solid like a heavy table or desk for protection

If outside – move away from overhead power lines and tall trees, and then crouch low

If in a vehicle, pull over to a safe spot and stay in your vehicle

Be prepared for aftershocks and take protective measures


St. John Ambulance also has a blog featuring various articles dedicated to emergency preparedness. Topics include how to develop an emergency and evacuation plan, as well as advice for preparing an emergency kit and staying safe during different disasters – from earthquakes and wildfires, to floods and tsunamis. To learn more, visit


St. John Ambulance’s full range of emergency preparedness products can also be found at branch locations across the province and online at