Earthquakes

The BC coast is considered a high risk earthquake zone. Earthquakes are unpredictable and at present there are few warning systems to help detect when one will occur. Earthquakes are common in B.C. and more than 1,200 are recorded each year. Most are too small to be felt, but an earthquake capable of causing structural damage is expected to occur about once every ten years.  

Aftershocks

Earthquakes are followed by aftershocks. 

Aftershocks are usually lesser earthquakes which occur after a major earthquake, along the same fault. Christchurch, NZ, experienced over 5,000 aftershocks of varying magnitudes after the September 4, 2010 7.1 magnitude earthquake, including the devastating February 22, 2011 6.3 magnitude aftershock. 

Aftershocks are very unsettling for people. They do not typically follow a recognizable pattern and jolt people and houses without warning. Even if your home or building has not been structurally impacted by the initial earthquake, aftershocks can bring down items that were loosened or shifted and they can cause structural damage.

Mitigation Actions

Research has shown that you have a better chance of surviving and minimizing the damage to your home if you take preventative measures and get prepared.

Here are a few easy, low-cost steps you can take immediately

  • put a pair of sturdy shoes and a flashlight under your bed
  • move beds away from windows
  • clear the area over and near your bed 
  • close your blinds or curtains at night
  • secure bookcases, heavy furniture and appliances
  • check your insurance policies for coverage and understand the process for making claims
  • gather together all your important documents and recovery information and make sure it is easily accessible 
  • store tools and cleaning supplies in a secure accessible area 

The best thing Oak Bay residents can do is to learn about what they need to do to protect themselves when the shaking starts, and what emergency supplies and plans they need to have in place before an earthquake strikes.  

Sites for Current Earthquake Activity

Geological Survey of Canada
USGS World’s Most recent Quake Map
USGS Latest Earthquakes in the World- Past 7 days