Chilliwack not stirred by Friday’s earthquake

Friday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled British Columbians as far east as Kamloops and Kelowna apparently left Chilliwack unshaken, according to city officials.

Friday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled British Columbians as far east as Kamloops and Kelowna apparently left Chilliwack unshaken, according to city officials.

But Chilliwack’s emergency coordinator Jim MacDonald said it was a timely reminder that an earthquake could be felt here, and families should have a plan in place and a family emergency kit on standby.

“It’s time to think about what you would do here in Chilliwack,” he said, and look for a safe place in your home or workplace away from windows and heavy objects that might fall on top of you.

MacDonald said he even noticed a few heavy objects above him at his office “that I might end up wearing” in an earthquake, and a whiteboard blocking his way out of the room.

“And I’m supposed to be the guy walking the walk,” he said.

There will be a B.C.-wide earthquake drill Oct. 20 at 10:20 a.m.

Friday’s quake struck off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island at about 12:41 p.m., but there were no reports of injuries, damages or tsunami warnings.

However, there were many reports of highrise buildings swaying in Vancouver.

There were also several dozen aftershocks reported, the largest a 4.9 tremor.

The earthquake was not caused by the forces that are expected to trigger The Big One, John Cassidy, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, told reporters at a Friday news conference.

He said Friday’s earthquake was caused by the horizontal movement of tectonic plates along a different fault like, and is a “relatively common” event seen about every 10 years.

The last quake in the same general area was a magnitude 6.6 event in November, 2004.

“The big ones occur deeper and further west of Vancouver Island,” Cassidy said, and occur hundreds of years apart on a different fault line where one plate is slipping under another.

In the event an earthquake is felt in Chilliwack, MacDonald cautioned people to say off the phones, unless reporting an emergency.

“Save the phone calls for later on, and leave the ciruits open,” he said, so emergency 911 calls can get through.

Emergency responders may not be readily available in the event of a major earthquake, and gas, water, and electricity may be cut off for long periods of time.

Each family should have a “Grab-and-Go Bag” ready that includes a minimum three-day supply of water, food and medical prescriptions.

For a complete list see the city’s Emergency Preparedness section on its website.

For more information on the provincial earthquake drill go to www.shakeoutbc.ca

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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