The Great Shake Out takes place Thursday

Do you know what to do when an earthquake strikes? Canada's largest earthquake preparedness drill is set for Oct. 17.

Do you know what to do when an earthquake strikes?

Canada’s largest earthquake preparedness drill is set for Oct. 17.

As part of this year’s Great British Columbia ShakeOut, thousands of British Columbians will “drop, cover and hold on” as part of an earthquake drill. Similar events are taking place across Canada and worldwide.

Last year, there were more than 590,000 participants in the Canadian event.

As part of this year’s Great British Columbia ShakeOut, thousands of BCers will “drop, cover and hold on” as part of an earthquake drill, with other similar events taking place worldwide and drawing millions of participants.

B.C.’s event, led by the B.C. Earthquake Alliance and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, is set for Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. The province of British Columbia has also officially proclaimed Oct. 17 ShakeOut BC Day.

“While potential earthquake hazards depend on location, everywhere in British Columbia is considered at high risk in relation to the rest of Canada,” theShakeOut BC website advises. “For example, on January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9 earthquake (similar to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off the coast of Japan) shook the entire province as well as Washington, Oregon, and California, and generated a massive tsunami.”

In the East Kootenay, more than 3,500 are registered to participate. Most of the participants are part of the regional school districts, but provincial government employees, non-profit organizations and others are also taking part, including the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.

The components to an earthquake drill are:

• Alarm — During the alarm stage, a loud warning device alerts employees the drill is beginning.

• Response — During the response stage, everyone heads for cover. Participants are to get under a desk, heavy table, chair or doorjam. Move away from windows, glass or light fixtures. If there is no cover available, crouch and try to protect your head.

• Evacuation —  After the shaking has stopped, evacuate the building and move to a pre-determined muster station.

• Assembly and roll call — Designated personnel will take the roll call at the muster station. In the event of a real earthquake, a search and rescue team would be dispatched to find missing people.

• After the drill, an evaluation should be conducted to identify snags or potential problem areas.

The Great British Columbia ShakeOut is an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes. The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage schools and organizations to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to prevent damage and injuries.

To register to participate, go to www.shakeoutbc.ca.