Quake should shake Langley awake

The tremor caused no reported damage but jolted many.

A small earthquake that rattled homes across Langley Dec. 29 has locals asking for more emergency preparedness advice.

Ginger Sherlock, Langley’s Emergency Planning Coordinator, said there have been more calls from the public asking what they need to know, and do, to be prepared for a big disaster.

The quake hit at 11:39 p.m. last Tuesday and was centered just east of Vancouver Island, north-northeast of Victoria.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey it had a strength of 4.8 on the Richter scale, while Natural Resources Canada measured it at 4.3.

No major damage was reported, but many residents said they felt the sudden jolt, with many comparing it to a truck hitting the side of their house.

Sherlock’s job involves trying to make sure as many people as possible are prepared for a quake, flood, major fire, or other catastrophe.

One of the problems of emergency preparedness is that it can seem overwhelming at first, she said.

There are long lists of things to do and buy, of items that should be in emergency kits – food, water, flashlights, first aid kits, batteries, and so on – that people can simply give up.

Asked if there was just one thing people could do that would make a difference, the first thing Sherlock picked was simple.

She said everyone should tuck two items under their bed – a pair of hard-soled shoes or boots, with a flashlight tucked inside or even taped to the boots.

After one bad quake in California, there were more than 1,100 people admitted to hospitals with cuts from broken glass.

Having hard-soled shoes and a flashlight close to hand gives you the ability to move around and see what you’re doing even if the windows have shattered.

Communication is another key, and one Sherlock says the Langleys need to work on. She’s reaching out to churches and community groups so they can plan and coordinate how to give aid in the wake of a big quake.

Local residents turned to social media in the wake of the jolt from last week’s quake.

“My whole building shook. I thought a car hit the building,” wrote Jessica Alice on the Langley Advance Facebook page.

“My wall jolted me in a way I can’t explain,” wrote Chantal Crowell.

Others managed to sleep through it peacefully.

The quake is the strongest in the area in recent years.

Sherlock provided some information on quakes and how to get through them.

Earthquake 101: We live in an earthquake zone.

What does this mean?

We can experience three types of earthquakes, see attached Natural Resources Canada picture:

1. The crustal ones are close to the surface, violent, and short lasting – these happen extremely rarely, and they are not felt far away.

2. The deep crustal ones happen frequently along the coast, and sometimes effect populated areas – such as Nisqually’s 2001 earthquake, and last week’s Sidney earthquake – both of these quakes were felt by Langleyites (is that what we call ourselves? 🙂 These quakes are felt far away due to the quake location and radiating movement.

3. The subduction zone earthquake, also called the ‘Big One’, would last for minutes, and be felt by most within the west coast regions. Langley citizens would feel like they are standing on a  moving boat, as there would be a rocking motion created by the moving earth.

What are the consequences?

Looking at other earthquakes that have happened around the world, we know:

• Power may be out for days

• Sewer and water lines may be out for weeks

• Transportation capabilities and routes may be altered temporarily that may extend months and years

• Our building codes are good and most buildings will withstand the movement

• Older buildings, especially those built with brick, are susceptible to major impacts

• Health care system will be temporarily overwhelmed with the influx of impacted injuries

What can you do?

• Sign up for eAlerts on the TOL website – during events, updates will be sent directly to your email

• For more information and links, visit the Langley Emergency Program’s website at

• Sign up for notifications and preparedness information via social media: Facebook & Twitter at LangleyPrepared

• Understand that after an earthquake, regular first responders will be overwhelmed and there will be a delay in getting to those trapped and injured

• You will be in charge of your personal safety, wherever you are (work, play, home…holidays)

• You need to look after loved ones to ensure their safety: if you cannot, appoint someone who will

• Know what the school will do (for children) and what your work expectations are

• Have a communications plan – know how you will connect afterwards and where everyone will meet

• Take a first aid course, so you can look after minor injuries and help others, neighbours and friends

• Have enough equipment, food and water to ‘camp’ for seven days (including a porta-potty with sterile hand wipes)

Key messages:

• Be prepared, not scared

• Start small – but start! Last week’s earthquake was your wakeup call!

• The hardest thing to explain after the quake, is why you were not ready….

• Get a pair of hard soled shoes and put a flashlight in one, then place under your bed. After an earthquake (or if the smoke alarm goes off), you have protection so your feet do not get cut from broken glass, and you can see.





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