British Columbians not taking Earthquake Risks Seriously - New Survey Shows Majority Expect the Big One, But Get a D Grade for Preparedness

Great BCAA Earthquake Challenge reveals risk awareness and alarming knowledge gaps:

  • 58% aware of a one-in-three chance of a significant earthquake in next 50 years
  • 65% don't know best way to stay safe in an earthquake
  • 75% expect their home could be damaged by an earthquake
  • 78% don't know how to prepare their home for an earthquake
  • 51% don't have insurance coverage or don't know if they do

BURNABY, BC, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ - British Columbians in highest earthquake risk areas know they're in danger but don't know how to stay safe, prepare their homes, or use insurance to protect their homes, says a new survey from the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) - which is a sponsor of this month's The Great B.C. ShakeOut earthquake drill.

The survey of over 1,000 southwestern British Columbians shows when put to the test, people scored an average letter grade of D for their knowledge of basic preparedness information. For example, only a third (35 per cent) know to 'drop, cover and hold on' if an earthquake hits and just one in five (22 per cent) know how to prepare their home despite three quarters (77 per cent) knowing that it is possible to take action to do so. Other findings included 93 per cent not knowing that earthquake coverage in base home insurance policies is typically limited to fire and explosion, and only one in five (21 per cent) knowing tsunami damage is not covered by insurance.

"We are very concerned that British Columbians living in Canada's highest earthquake risk areas appear so complacent about preparing, despite a notable 7.7 magnitude earthquake near Haida Gwaii this time last year, and a 6.1 quake just last month. Our research showed 75 per cent of people expect their home could be damaged and over half know there's a one in three chance of a significant earthquake hitting southwestern B.C. in the next 50 years," says Brenda Lowden, BCAA's Chief People and Community Officer. "This complacency and lack of knowledge will significantly impact their ability to recover from an earthquake and ultimately could put their lives at greater risk. With so many people unprepared, it could also extend the economic and social impact to our region as a whole."

The silver lining from the new research is that 83 per cent of southwestern British Columbians said they were interested in improving their knowledge, so BCAA has made the Great BCAA Earthquake Challenge quiz available to take at, along with preparedness information and a smart shopping guide for earthquake insurance.

BCAA urges British Columbians to take action to protect themselves, their families and their property. "Our research shows people need to increase their knowledge in three areas, which will improve how they and their families get back on their feet in the aftermath of an earthquake," says Brenda Lowden. "Learn how to survive, learn how to prepare your home to reduce potential damage, and learn how to protect your home with insurance coverage."

Evidence from previous earthquakes suggests around a third of the cost of resulting damage can be non-structural, for example breakages and damage from furniture and belongings moving. So in addition to maintaining a customized preparedness kit for your family, taking steps to secure your belongings and checking your earthquake insurance coverage may sound simple but could make a genuine difference.

BCAA is proud to sponsor and participate in The Great B.C. ShakeOut - part of the world's largest earthquake drill - on October 17 at 10.17am. Register online to join. Drop into any BCAA service location between October 7-18, to enter a free draw to win an earthquake preparedness kit. Each location has one, four-person kit to give away.

About the survey:
From September 17 to 19, 2013, an online survey and quiz grading was conducted by Head Research among 1,003 adults (21+) who live on Vancouver Island or the Lower Mainland, including North Vancouver, Fraser Valley and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. The statistical margin of error for overall survey results in this study is +/- 3%. This means that, in 19 out of 20 cases, survey results for questions based on all survey respondents will differ by no more than 3% in either direction from what would have been obtained by measuring the opinions of all adults aged 21+ who live in the areas mentioned above.

About BCAA:
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance services, and legendary roadside assistance. J.D. Power has ranked BCAA "Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada" two years in a row (2012 and 2013) - details at Now in its 107th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit

SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information:

For further information, preparedness tips, or to request an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Thatcher
Office: 604-268-5446

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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