California quake a reminder to expect B.C.’s ‘Big One’

California quake a reminder to expect B.C.’s ‘Big One’

What will you be doing before, and after, a large earthquake shakes your neighbourhood?

After a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck early Sunday morning in California’s northern Bay Area, B.C. authorities are hoping it will remind local residents that they should be preparing for such a calamity as well.

The California quake hit the wine country destinations of Napa and Sonoma the hardest. Gas lines broke, fires ignited and tens of thousands of residents were cut off from power, all prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency.

News of the quake, the biggest to hit the region since 1989’s Loma Prieta temblor — made especially memorable and horrific by the collapse of a double-decked section of Interstate 80 — will inevitably generate some anxiety for people living near other fault lines and seismic zones to the north.

In B.C., government agencies hope that worry can be channelled into preparation.

Hours before the North Bay quake struck, dozens of community-minded volunteers in Vancouver were getting ready for the Big One at a natural disaster response training session sponsored by the City of Vancouver.

On Saturday, at the staged natural disaster site, the volunteers helped coordinate the rescue of dummies from burning cars and actors from collapsed buildings.

The city is building a network of hyperlocal help called NEAT, which stands for Neighbourhood Emergency Assistance Team, and intends to have these trained volunteers able to carry out basic first aid and assist first responders with situational assessments.


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