Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles with tsunami-warning signage that was erected along Marine Drive from Finlay Street to Highway 99, as well as along Beach Road, last June. (File photo)

Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles with tsunami-warning signage that was erected along Marine Drive from Finlay Street to Highway 99, as well as along Beach Road, last June. (File photo)

SFN sirens to sound this morning for quake drill

Warning signals part of Oct. 19 exercise

Sirens will ring out along the waterfront this morning, as the Semiahmoo First Nation joins in a mass earthquake drill.

The Great B.C. Shake Out is to take place at 10:19 a.m. today (Oct. 19), when communities are encouraged to take a few moments to practise what to do in the event of an earthquake: drop, cover and hold on.

In a news release issued Friday morning to “notify our neighbours well in advance of the drill and exercise planned” by the SFN, Chief Harley Chappell said the band’s participation is “part of our commitment to safety in our community.”

For the drill, the SFN will begin with the same chimes that signify the start of tsunami drills it has been conducting on a monthly basis since early this year. The first of those, in March, caused a moment of panic for some, as it was not clear it was merely a drill, and residents reacted by flooding phone lines at city hall and the fire department to question its legitimacy.

Today, the chimes will be followed by the announcement, “This is a test. This is a test. This is only a test.”

Then, those in the area will hear, “An incident has occurred in your area. You are advised to leave this area. Do not return until directed to do so. Follow evacuation routes.”

At 10:25 a.m., the drill will conclude with, “This was only a test. This was only a test. This was only a test.”

According to www.shakeoutbc.ca, the annual drill is “an effective way to better understand B.C.’s earthquake risk and how to prepare.”