In British Columbia, we’re grateful to to be on the road to an earthquake early warning system, but we still have a long way to go. Even if you just had a few seconds, or a minute warning before the shaking began, you’d have a chance to get yourself in a safer position. This way, you’ll have a much better chance of surviving the initial quake so you can use all of the earthquake supplies you’ve prepared!
It’s taken a while, but in October 2016, after CBC launched an original podcast about local earthquake scenarios called “Fault Lines,” our provincial government decided to make a move. They put out a formal request for expressions of interest in a program that would develop an earthquake early warning system accessible by all residents of the province.
Of course, a number of groups had already been working on seismic monitoring and developing new sensors—including the University of British Columbia’s Department of Civil Engineering—but the goal now was to create something more cohesive.
UBC already has a network of sensors and alarms in 60 schools, funded by the Catholic School Board. But of course, the more widespread an alarm system like this is, the better. The team at UBC is working on a home alarm that the public can use, connected to the early warning network over internet.
Along with the work being done at UBC, ShakeAlarm has made some progress—with the government installing one of their devices in the Massey Tunnel in Metro Vancouver, BC. Natural Resources Canada also has some existing seismographs.
And more people are interested in developing more sensitive and farther-reaching equipment and systems, but the cost also needs to be considered. In February 2016 the government invested $5 million, given to Ocean Networks Canada, a research group out of the University of Victoria. Ocean Networks Canada is using the money to place 8 sensors—some right along the Cascadia Subduction Zone—and also to collaborate to bring safety to more of our civilians.
It will be interesting to see how the development of the earthquake early warning system unfolds over the coming year!
-Content created by Sophie Wooding – Writer, gardener, cyclist and emergency preparedness enthusiast!