Is BC Prepared for ‘The Big One’?

For decades people around the Pacific Northwest have heard about the potential for a big earthquake to strike in the region.

It has been long said that it might happen tomorrow or it could be years from now, with various reports suggesting that it might already be overdue.


How devastating might this earthquake be? No one knows what the region might experience or if or when it might happen. Regardless, we know that cities around the West Coast have been preparing for it.

Experts have suggested that this is one that could cause a significant amount of destruction to the Northwest, ultimately becoming one of the worst natural disasters that could take place in US and Canadian history if it does happen.

When was the last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake?

This year marked the 322 year anniversary. Who knows when it might happen again.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has predicted that the chances of it taking place in the next 50 years might be 1 in 10.

Though preparations have been made over the last few decades there are some who say that we aren’t ready and there might be many who aren’t even aware of the possibility of this taking place around this region.

Past research has indicated that Cascadia had previously seen an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 which was back in 1700.

It’s estimated that we might see a similar event take place within 300 to 500 years, and as we know it has already been well over 300 years for the region since the last time it happened.

Getting Ready For The Big One

Though much preparation has taken place in getting communities ready and fixing old buildings etc, some have suggested that the issue is more urgent than we think and that we are treating it too mildly in that not enough is being done yet to get ready.

Canada has recently installed its first sensor for its early warning system for earthquakes earlier this year, that sensor was installed around Horseshoe Bay in British Columbia.

There are plans for hundreds of these sensors to be planted eventually around the West Coast here and the system overall is expected to be fully functional sometime by 2024.

Previously, the City of Vancouver had also released a map that showed dozens of different disaster support hubs to find around the Lower Mainland in the event that the ‘big one’ took place.

These disaster hub spots in BC are where people are likely to go looking to meet up, find information about what’s going on, locate resources, and more.

Categories: bc, blog, vancouver

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