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A group of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Special Operations members with hardhats in front of concrete rubble

ShakeOut: know the risk and be prepared

Evolving seismic risk assessment improves understanding of buildings and areas of Vancouver most vulnerable

Know the risks, make a plan, and have the emergency supplies you need to get by so first responders can prioritize life-saving calls.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid

October 16 2019 –

As the 2019 Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill nears, the Vancouver Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with Resilient Vancouver, is urging residents to ensure their homes, families and neighbourhoods are prepared for an earthquake. 

During an earthquake the best thing you can do is drop, cover, and hold on. On October 17 at 10:17am the City of Vancouver and people across BC will take part in the emergency preparedness drill, ShakeOut .

Prepare your family for emergencies

“Beyond participating in ShakeOut, everyone should have a family emergency plan in the event of an earthquake. Know the risks, make a plan, and have the emergency supplies you need to get by so first responders can prioritize life-saving calls,” says Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid. “Being self-sufficient at home frees up emergency services to help those who need it most and will help our community recover more quickly.” 

Find details on how to prepare your family for an earthquake and other emergencies

Understanding the seismic risks

The City has made significant investments over the past decade to assess earthquake risk, upgrade infrastructure, and develop emergency plans.

As a current area of focus, the City is working with leading experts to gain specific insights into the unique seismic risks presented by our geographical location, the potential impacts to different building types, and opportunities to mitigate those risks.

This map of an M 7.3 Georgia Strait Earthquake shows high risk areas of the city (494 KB)

“While damage and disruption will occur across our city, research and modelling indicates the most extreme impacts are concentrated in a specific set of buildings and neighbourhoods. These are primarily older, multi-family residential, and commercial buildings,” says Chief Resilience Officer Katie McPherson. “Reducing this risk will require a range of different options based on building type and use, and the wellbeing and protection of tenants.” 

This work is a result of the Seismic Policy Advisory Committee, a group of technical experts from the public, private, and government sectors to advise on and support the development of an integrated risk assessment and a set of seismic risk reduction policy options.