EDITORIAL: Quakes shake complacency

People need to start taking disaster preparedness seriously.

The devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan is yet another wakeup call for those living on B.C.’s West Coast to prepare for a natural disaster.

And no one can say they haven’t been warned.

From Haiti and Chile, to New Zealand and now Japan, the seismic Ring of Fire encircling the Pacific Ocean was highly active over the last year and it’s not a matter of if, but when B.C. experiences the same.

The sad reality of the situation is that despite improving early warning information systems for a tsunami by leaps and bounds, and educating the public in what to do during an earthquake, the majority of the population will not be ready when the big one hits.

Even January’s Great British Columbia ShakeOut had most people rolling their eyes and laughing at crawling under a desk for one minute or meeting in a parking lot for roll call.

But imagine if it was all real, and you’re standing in that parking lot in the rain with no cover and no food or water.

It’s time to take it seriously and this latest disaster is the perfect opportunity.

Everyone should pay attention to the experiences of the Nanaimo citizens who witnessed the Japanese disaster first-hand.

That personal tale of the sights, the sounds, the smells and the death is a tangible link that, perhaps, brings this situation closer to home and shakes people from their complacency.

What did they do to survive? What did they witness that we could all learn from?

If we’re lucky, it will convince more people to take disaster preparedness seriously.

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