Small earthquake a wakeup for Oct. 19 ShakeOut drill

A small earthquake off Vancouver Island on Wednesday is a good reminder of the upcoming Great British Columbia ShakeOut, said a government seismologist.

Alison Bird, earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said the 4.5-magnitude quake occurred at 2:26 a.m. and was centred about 200 kilometres west by southwest of Tofino.

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Bird said the quake was likely too small to be noticed by most people, but it’s a good reminder of next week’s Great British Columbia Shakeout.

The event will see participants take part in an earthquake drill on Oct. 19. People should drop, cover and hold on — drop to the floor, seek cover under a table or desk and hang on to something solid — at 10:19 a.m.

Bird said the drill is a good way to reinforce muscle memory on what should be done during an earthquake. Reinforcing the safety instruction makes it less likely a person will panic and run, the worst reaction.

“It’s a really good thing to do, because we don’t normally function well under great stress,” she said.

In most earthquakes, Bird said, the most dangerous spot to be is outdoors close to a building’s edge, where debris such as bricks might fall.

The annual ShakeOut event is held around the world on the third Thursday of October.

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