British Columbia

B.C. megathrust earthquake: people unprepared despite warnings

There have been many warnings about a large-scale earthquake expected off Vancouver Island within the next 50 years, but according to an environmental psychologist, people aren't preparing for it.

Environmental psychologist says lack of control, procrastination get in the way of earthquake plans

People on Vancouver Island have heard the warnings a big earthquake could be imminent, but that doesn't mean they're prepared. (CBC)

There have been many warnings about a large-scale earthquake expected off Vancouver Island within the next 50 years, but according to an environmental psychologist, people aren't preparing for it.

"The people who live in higher risk areas do know they're living in a higher risk area but they don't take any more precautions than the people who are living on safer ground," University of Victoria professor and environmental psychologist Robert Gifford told On The Island's Gregor Craigie.

Gifford said only a small portion of people are in denial about the actual possibility of an earthquake, but many are just putting off planning for its eventuality.

"Everybody knows they should eat better or exercise, but not everybody does it."

Others may not be preparing because a natural disaster like an earthquake is so far out of their control.

"You can't stop the earthquake, but what such people should understand is there are things you can do to mitigate the damage to yourself, your family, other people," he said.

Gifford said preparation doesn't need to be all-consuming.

"I guess if you've done whatever you can … then I think it's time to take it easy and engage in your life in a nice Victorian way."

To hear the full interview with Robert Gifford, click the audio labelled: Why Vancouver Islanders aren't ready for "the big one."

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