While people across the province drop, cover and hold for the annual Great British Columbia Shakeout, residents of Campbell River are including an extra measure in their emergency exercise.

After the standard drop-cover-and-hold practice drill, people will be asked to evacuate parts of the city and head for higher ground.

Shaun Koopman, the protective services co-ordinator for the Strathcona Regional District, said following a major earthquake, two dams on the BC Hydro system could fail and flood a large portion of Campbell River with four to 11 metres of water.

"Where a lot of people in B.C. are practising duck, cover and hold, for the people who live, work or are visiting that flood zone, it's duck, cover, hold and then get out," Koopman said.

Flood waters would reach the city within a half hour if the John Hart Dam upstream is breached, and nearly three hours after a Strathcona dam failure. 

The evacuation zone includes most of downtown from Shoppers Row to the ferry terminal and all the way up to the John Hart Dam. 

Registered Shakeout participants are asked to drop, cover and hold at 10:19 a.m. PT for four minutes, count to 60 and then evacuate from the area to the nearest checkpoint either on foot or by bicycle.

BC Hydro supports the drill and has been working with Campbell River and the regional district on emergency response preparedness within the community since 2014.

Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said the potential for dam failure is a risk and a 20-year plan to upgrade the two dams is underway.

He says seismic upgrades at the Strathcona Dam and the John Hart Dam could begin as early as 2021.