This map show seismic hazards in Canada, with Salmon Arm being in the light blue – or lowest – category of risk. (National Resources Canada image)

This map show seismic hazards in Canada, with Salmon Arm being in the light blue – or lowest – category of risk. (National Resources Canada image)

Homeowners pass on earthquake protection

Vernon’s 4.5 magnitude quake in 1936 last sizable one to shake community

When they heard – or heard about – the earthquake in Salmon Arm Saturday night, a few local insurance agents thought their phones would be ringing Monday morning.

But they were wrong.

Next to no customers called to inquire about earthquake insurance – not if they could purchase it nor if they were already covered.

“We’ve had maybe about three people inquire about it since Sunday,” said Kara Sterling from SASCU Insurance Wednesday. “It’s not very common for this area. We have people from the Coast that purchase it up here because they’re used to having it at the Coast.”

Read more: Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake in insurance than the rest of BC

At Johnston Meier Insurance, branch manager Geordie McLennan reports no inquiries.

“We thought we might have a couple of people calling in,” he says, explaining staff were laughing when they polled themselves and discovered that the guy who moved from Vancouver was the only one with earthquake insurance.

McLennan notes that to get a mortgage on the Coast, you not only have to show that you have fire insurance, you have to show that you have earthquake too.

Jacquie Gaudreau, branch manager at Hub International, said they’ve maybe had one call all week about it.

“On Saturday night we all thought to ourselves, the phones are going to ring off the wall on Monday. It’s not been what we’d anticipated. We kind of laughed about it.”

Read more: Shuswap earthquake minor compared to 6.0 shaker of 1918

Taimi Mulder, earthquake seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, says damage to buildings can start with a 5.5 magnitude quake, usually near the epicentre.

“2.2 was a long way from a magnitude 5.5,” she says, explaining that the scale is logarithmic, and a three is 100 times stronger than a two.

Still, she mentions that in 1936, Vernon experienced a 4.5 magnitude quake.

Dishes broke in Vernon and plaster cracked. In Mara, bricks dislodged from a chimney. Notch Hill residents reported four chimneys collapsed. No word on if anything was damaged in Salmon Arm.

Read more: Earthquake jogs memory of meteor strike

“The (Canadian) building code has changed a lot since then,” Mulder says. “Seismic provisions went in in 1985. Typically, buildings built after 1985 should be fairly safe.”

She says provincial building codes have to be as stringent as the national code.

“In general, I think it’s unlikely that area could experience significant damage from an earthquake in that region,” she says, with a caveat. “I have to add qualifying phrases because Mother Nature has her own plans.”

In terms of publicly owned buildings, Maurice Roy, manager of permits and licensing for the City of Salmon Arm, states:

“The buildings you are referring to are governed by Part III of the BC Building Code. They are all designed to withstand a seismic event based on our specific seismic exposure. Salmon Arm is located in a very stable area so our seismic classification is very low. So, to answer your question, those buildings have been designed to withstand the expected earthquakes in our area.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Lake Country hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read