A 4.7 magnitude earthquake just before midnight on Dec. 29 gave residents a jarring reminder that Langley is in an earthquake zone.
In early May, a unique opportunity is being offered to give Langley residents to experience what it is like to live through a stronger earthquake, as a way to encourage emergency preparedness.
If a major earthquake strikes, the first priority will be help those who are injured or trapped, explained Ginger Sherlock, who coordinates the Langley Emergency program. Power and phone services could be out for days, water and sewer systems would be shut down, and emergency responders and the health care system would be overwhelmed. Stores and gas stations would be closed, and while most buildings constructed to code will withstand movement, older buildings could be impacted and transportation routes obstructed.
“Whether you are at home, at work, or on holiday, you will be in charge of your own personal safety. Having an emergency kit and a communications plan with your loved ones is a great place to start,” Sherlock said.
To help people gain a better understanding, the community is hosting the Quake Cottage, an earthquake simulator.
“The Quake Cottage is coming to just a few municipalities in B.C. from the U.S. this year and we are pleased to welcome it to our community,” said City Mayor Ted Schaffer. “We hope Langley residents take advantage of this unique opportunity.”
It’s here for Emergency Preparedness Week. On Saturday, May 7, the Quake Cottage will be in the northwest parking lot of the Willowbrook Shopping Centre from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. People can step inside for free, and safely experience what a major quake feels like.
The simulator is part of a Shake Zone event being presented by the Township, the City, and the Langley Emergency Program.
The free event will feature emergency preparedness information stations that will show how an earthquake will affect the day-to-day life and the science behind earthquakes. A community scrawl wall will be set up so people can write or draw how they feel about being better prepared for a real earthquake.
“Being prepared in case of an emergency is something we all talk about, but now is the time to take action and do it,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese. “Experiencing a major earthquake through the Quake Cottage will likely be very dramatic and make an impact on people. We hope they act on that feeling and take steps to help keep their families safe.”
The Langley Emergency Program is running a newspaper ad which includes a draw ticket. The public is encouraged to cut out the ticket, bring it to the event on May 7, and enter for a chance to win emergency grab-and-go bags.
“By taking simple actions now, you will be in a much better position to survive an emergency,” said Sherlock.
She encouraged people to be “prepared, not scared.”
During Emergency Preparedness Week and throughout May, the Langley Emergency Program will offer free personal preparedness sessions so families know how to stay safe in case of an emergency such as an earthquake, fire, landslide, or extreme weather conditions.
To sign up for a session, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Langley Emergency Program will also provide free, customized emergency workshops for businesses and community groups.
For more information, visit langleyemergency.ca. Sign up for notifications and preparedness information on Facebook and Twitter through @LangleyPrepared.
Enter at Willowbrook, on shopwillowbrook.com, or on Willowbrook’s Facebook page for a chance to win 1 of 25 Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Kits.
Attend a free one-hour personal preparedness seminar at Willowbrook, offered in conjunction with the Canadian Red Cross and the Langley Emergency Program.
Available seminar times: May 7: 11 a.m., May 11: 2 p.m., May 11: 7 p.m., May 14: 11 a.m., May 14: 2 p.m., and May 28: 11 a.m.
People must sign up in advance. Call Willowbrook’s Customer Service Centre at 604-530-4492 or email email@example.com.