There was nothing in the way of damage reported from last week’s 4.3-magnitude earthquake centred off Sidney Island, outside of maybe the odd piece of ill-placed glass or china knocked off a shelf.
But for those surprised at how much it felt like a “real” earthquake, the 10-second shaker may well be the event that prompts them to finally take the initiative and assemble that grab-and-go container they’ve been meaning to put together for some time now.
Emergency preparedness officials in our communities have long pounded the drum to be ready for the big one, when it inevitably comes and this latest seismic event will give them even more fodder with which to drive their message home.
The Dec. 29 quake, centred just off Sidney Island around 11:37 p.m. and estimated to have happened between 50 and 60 kilometres under the Earth’s surface, certainly wasn’t the strongest in relatively recent memory to be felt close to home. A 6.8-magnitude event centred just off Olympia, Wash. in February 2001 caused significant structural damage in the Seattle area after lasting around 45 seconds, but also did minor damage in Victoria.
About 400 people, mostly in and around densely populated Seattle, were said to be injured in that quake, including many who happened to be in buildings not upgraded to proper seismic standards.
We appreciate the fact local school districts are being proactive in reinforcing their older buildings to be able to withstand a major shock and protect our children in the event a damaging earthquake occurs during the school day.
For those of us who might find themselves at work – or at home, as most of us were when last week’s tremor was felt – being prepared with emergency supplies and a plan could be enough to provide some peace of mind.
It would also put you in a small but slowly growing group of people who can say they know what they’ll do when “the big one” really does hit.