British Columbia

Neighbourly help, preparation key to surviving an earthquake, city planner says

Jackie Kloosterboer, emergency planner for the City of Vancouver, talks about what people should do to prepare for an earthquake.

City of Vancouver holding a series of earthquake preparedness workshops

Groceries litter the aisle at the New World Miramar in Wellington, New Zealand, on Nov. 14, 2016. The City of Vancouver is hosting a series of workshops to help residents prepare for a potential earthquake. (Ross Setford/SNP via AP)

While Vancouver residents' reaction to this year's unusual winter weather may have the rest of Canada rolling its eyes, being prepared for a disaster is no laughing matter for a City of Vancouver's earthquake-response coordinator. 

Jackie Kloosterboer, emergency planner with the city, says people have to be better prepared when an earthquake strikes.

"We saw people fighting over bags of salt [this winter]," she said.

"When a big earthquake happens, people are going to be fighting over food. They're going to be fighting over water and other supplies we don't have coming in."

The city is holding a series of earthquake-preparedness workshops over the next few weeks that will address issues like how to make an emergency response plan, how to help seniors, how to help your family pet, and how to protect your home and property during an earthquake.

"If your building is safe to stay in and you have all the supplies you need, you're going to get through it much better than people who haven't bothered to put together their plans, haven't bothered to go out and get their supplies."

While Kloosterboer said the city has its own emergency plan and would open reception centres during an earthquake, a key resource will be neighbours helping one another.

"If you live in an apartment building and your neighbour is in a wheelchair, they may not be getting down. How can you help them? What can you do? Simple things like that make a huge difference and in an earthquake, there's going to be a lot more of that having to happen."

The city is hosting an earthquake preparedness workshop at 7 p.m. PT Tuesday at the Kitsilano War Memorial Community Centre. For a list of subsequent workshops, visit the City of Vancouver website.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Neighbours helping neighbours can be key to surviving the big one, city planner says