Molo Softwall/Softblock Right now, two tectonic plates have become locked in place off the coast of Vancouver Island. Daniel Stevens, Vancouver's director of emergency management, said it would be a bad scenario if a shallow earthquake were to happen near Vancouver. When the earth begins to move the random cruelty of fate rules. And yet 60 per cent admit that they do not have an emergency kit—70 per cent have no emergency plan. A recently discovered active seismic fault line could produce a shallow magnitude 7.5 earthquake that would devastate British Columbia’s provincial capital. As with all quake-related predictions, it’s guesswork.

Unfortunately too many of us go too far in the other direction and fail to think about it at all. Like the provincial legislature, maybe,” she says, trying to talk through a smile.

adults are concerned about being personally affected by an earthquake and fully 87 per cent believe a major quake is coming within 50 years. Waterloo, Ontario-based Economical Insurance responded to the new OSFI guidelines by recalculating its B.C. We have to continue to engage with people to keep awareness up.”. I think of those as fairly high odds. Nothing makes that point more practically than insurance. But at least they know it. Seismologists with the federal government say the Devil’s Mountain Fault Zone (DMFZ) stretches over a distance of more than 125 kilometres from the Cascade Range foothills, running through Whidbey Island, and to the Salish Sea – coming just five kilometres south of the city of Victoria. Earthquakes also play havoc with powers of prediction. To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). “We have three runways, so if one was damaged, then we would be able to adjust our operations accordingly.”, Four more codes fall into the “Very High” category—V8N and V9B in Greater Victoria, V4L in Delta and V4R in Maple Ridge. By detecting the initial, advanced compression wave, it then sets off an alarm to alert you of seismic activity— usually 30 seconds before the shaking starts ($40; 72hours.ca). Strata councils carry catastrophic loss policies, but the high deductibles mean that few condo owners will be able to pony up the required deductible.

Rates have soared, particularly in hard-hit or high-risk areas. And I feel I can help people more from here," she said. If one of those small faults ruptures just 10 kilometres under the Strait of Georgia, Vancouver and Victoria may only experience 20 seconds of shaking, but it would be violent enough to knock people off their feet. It did, however, create NZ$4 billion (CAD$3.6 billion) in damage. If we had a lottery with that kind of probability you'd probably buy a ticket," she said. “You have to manage the people who are there and try to establish communications with families,” says Araki. Around the world actuaries map out areas of relative risk, known in the industry as CRESTA zones (Catastrophe Risk Evaluating and Standardizing Target Accumulations, an unwieldy name reportedly created to match the Cresta Hotel in Davos, Switzerland, where the system was devised in the late ’70s).

Next Thursday. “Without coverage, how will people rebuild? The 'Big One' near Vancouver you may not know about, PHOTOS: U.S. earthquake planners prep for deadly 'Big One' in Pacific Northwest, B.C. “The reinsurance industry would like to see that climb to 18 cents instantly, which would be too great a shock to policy holders.”, Homeowners in Washington State and California have long paid much higher rates for earthquake insurance than B.C. "I think people tend to focus on the Big One. Coastal communities from Vancouver Island to California may become the victims of monster tsunamis that will be generated. Calculating the resources needed for bigger disasters means planning for more liability—which, for the consumer, likely means higher rates. One morning as you’re crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge or inching through the George Massey Tunnel, thinking about time and traffic and lunch options when suddenly the pavement shrugs and the earth begins its awful dance while stolid structures begin undulating like studies in a surrealist’s sketchbook. While thrust (reverse) faults are most common in the region, the DMFZ appears to be a wrench fault, also known as a strike slip fault which releases energy from horizontal compression. These quakes occur on that "subducting" oceanic plate, but in the section that has already moved under the North American plate, usually at depths around 50 to 60 kilometres. Communicating locally will likely be more difficult so it’s a good idea to establish a contact farther east so that you can get word out more easily.”, He says that 40 per cent of small businesses go out of business after being hit in a major disaster. The experience of Christchurch highlighted a particular truth about major seismic events: their near-Biblical power of revelation.

But commercial quake insurance is subject to the same market forces as residential rates.

Outsiders wonder how we can stand to think about it. Thirteen B.C.

The reason is the backbone of the global insurance industry: reinsurance. The city’s tallest hotel and tallest office building were damaged beyond repair and later demolished. But the Geological Survey of Canada’s Garry Rogers cautions that even here there’s a lot of generalizing involved. Or crank it up—just one minute of turning the manual hand-turbine can produce 15 to 20 minutes of power ($48; totalprepare.ca). Further research is needed to determine whether the DMFZ merges with the San Juan Fault and Vancouver Island’s Leech River and Survey Mountain faults. Not until that judgment day arrives. codes fall into the “Extreme” category—all located in Victoria, Delta and Richmond. But New Zealand is no Developing World country, and the one-two seismic punch it suffered in 2010 and 2011 offer a disturbing precedent for B.C. READ Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest “If there was one society we thought was prepared for a major quake,” says Corbeil, “it was Japan. 's most populated cities: just 10 kilometres down — instead of 300 kilometres to the west, and then 30 kilometres down. The biggest issues are non-structural—flying debris, things flying off walls, machines toppling over. Speaking on a TV news show, ANZ Bank chief economist Cameron Bagrie said that the quake had affected the investment climate, driving up construction costs and thus making Christchurch a riskier place to invest. "We would see damage to our bridges, damage to our roads, our telecommunications systems will be damaged. “Text messages could be important. The Cascadia fault—also known in more paranoid circles as the Cascadia Subduction Zone—runs offshore from somewhere near the top of Vancouver Island to northern California. It will also depend in part on the preparations of business and government. Bird said the odds are greater than you might think when you factor in all three earthquake types.

With our building code we should do well structurally. If your city has any hidden construction and infrastructure flaws, if there are construction projects tainted by fraud and corruption, a major earthquake can become an earthly Day of Judgment.

Once typically five per cent, earthquake insurance deductibles are now increasingly set at 10 per cent, the deductible recently set by Intact Insurance Co. As a result, Economical announced they would both raise existing rates and ask brokers to seek other companies for any new earthquake policies written in those areas. In fact on June 4, 2012, a seismic observation platform on the Fraser briefly went missing.

Linda Goss, Economical’s chief actuary, says not every company will follow Economical’s example. Also, concentration of an insurer’s book of business in higher risk zones will lead to higher reinsurance costs. With a deep focus on B.C. The 2001 earthquake in Nisqually, Wash., that damaged Seattle's airport was one of these quakes. Most read in News. It will certainly rupture again, but this time with a string of 21st-century cities—high-rising, dense-with-people, globally interdependent regional capitals—stacked squarely in its impact zone. The Port Mann and newer bridges will likely be okay but with some of the older bridges, we don’t know.”. The Cascadia fault—also known in more paranoid circles as the Cascadia Subduction Zone—runs offshore from somewhere near the top of Vancouver Island to northern California.

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