When I came to Vancouver several years ago, no one told me I was moving to earthquake country. The city is vulnerable to the same type of megaquake that devastated Japan in March 2011, killing more than 20,000 people. Experts estimate that there’s a one in four chance of a cataclysmic quake hitting Vancouver within the next 50 years. But because the city has never suffered from a major temblor, almost no one is prepared. I investigated exactly how a quake might impact the city for Vancouver Magazine.
The Big One
By Remy Scalza for Vancouver Magazine
For someone whose business is disaster, Anne Ward is uncommonly charming. Today, Ward, an older woman who lives in Kitsilano but is originally from Saskatoon, is wearing two-inch silver heels, a shimmering gold shawl, and jade earrings with a matching amulet that looks vaguely Mayan. “I figure you got to look good while you can,” she says with a slight prairie twang. “It’ll come soon enough.”
Ward is president and CEO of Krasicki and Ward, an emergency preparedness supply store in City Square Mall at 12th and Cambie, right next to a beauty salon and below a Fitness World. The “it” she’s referring to is the big one, a major earthquake. In her store, you can buy earthquake survival kits, big bricks of high-calorie rations, crowbars and hatchets, solar-charged flashlights, emergency toilets in a bag called Wag Bags, and most anything else needed for the apocalypse. “You can try calling 911, if the phone lines are operational,” she says, raising a knowing eyebrow. “But you know what? You might not be their highest priority.”
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