BC ShakeOut breaks participation record

Over 690,000 in British Columbia shake out in Canada's largest fake quake  

VANCOUVER, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton and representatives from the BC Earthquake Alliance, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the North Vancouver Board of Education joined over 690,000 others across the province today for the Great BC ShakeOut, Canada's largest earthquake drill. Today's total BC participation is a new record, exceeding the 590,000 participants in 2012.

Today Minister Anton and representatives of the Earthquake Alliance and IBC joined students at Ridgeway Elementary School in North Vancouver for the annual drill. Millions of other participants from around the world practised the "drop, cover and hold on" ShakeOut drill simultaneously today in schools, offices, businesses, homes and even outdoors.

"Earthquakes can strike anywhere, at any time. Your first line of defense is to be prepared, have a plan and an emergency kit that will help sustain every member of your family for at least 72 hours," says Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton. "Shakeout BC gives us the opportunity to practice these life-saving techniques, and help raise awareness of the importance of disaster preparedness. Make earthquake readiness a family priority - practice the drill of 'drop, cover and hold on'."

"Whether or not we are inside a seismically sound school when an earthquake occurs, we can all benefit from developing an instinctive familiarity with this potentially life-saving drill," says Franci Stratton, chair of the North Vancouver Board of Education. "'Drop, cover and hold on' is a way of taking personal action for our own safety and security. We appreciate having the opportunity today to practice the drill alongside students."

The risk of a major destructive earthquake in British Columbia is very real. Taking a few minutes to learn how to protect yourself and your family can help you survive a major earthquake. Practising the life-saving "drop, cover and hold on" drill is an important step for British Columbia families to help them respond more quickly and effectively when an actual earthquake occurs.

"You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake. This is why it is critical to practise the life-saving response of 'drop, cover and hold on'. Practising the drill is fun, easy, only takes a minute and will help you respond more quickly and effectively when an actual earthquake occurs," says Miranda Myles, co-chair of the Great BC ShakeOut Organizing Committee.

Knowing what to do after an earthquake strikes is just as important. Make a plan with your family so that everyone knows what to do after the shaking stops. Take the time to assemble an emergency kit to sustain you and your loved ones for at least 72 hours until help arrives. Tell everyone in your household where the kit is and how to use it.

"Insurers are at the forefront of helping Canadians prepare for an earthquake. We are proud to support large earthquake drills like the Great BC ShakeOut for the fourth consecutive year." says Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western & Pacific. "Participating in the Great BC ShakeOut is a great way to learn about earthquake preparedness. Taking the time to annually practise the drill, review your family emergency plan, and stock your emergency kit could save your life when the big one hits."

Preparing Canada for a major earthquake is a responsibility shared by insurers, governments and all Canadians. Leadership must be guided by solid research and planning. A new Insurance Bureau of Canada study conducted by AIR Worldwide, global experts in catastrophe modeling, will be released by IBC later this month.  The study provides an analysis of the impact of a major seismic event in two regions, British Columbia and Quebec-Ontario.

For more information on earthquake safety and the Great BC ShakeOut visit:

http://www.shakeoutbc.ca/

http://www.ibc.ca/en/BC_ShakeOut.asp

www.bcaa.com/earthquake

About ShakeOut
Great ShakeOut earthquake drills help people in homes, schools, and organizations practice how to be safe during big earthquakes, and provide an opportunity for everyone to improve their overall preparedness. By participating, you can have assurance that you, your family, your co-workers and millions of others will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from the next big earthquake in your region.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the private property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information:

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:

Helen Lialias
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 ext. 4312
hlialias@ibc.ca


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