There was no emergency, but a mass evacuation took place Wednesday.
School children, municipal workers, firefighters and Abbotsford Police officers were among more than 480,000 people across the province who participated in a mock earthquake drill.
The inaugural Great British Columbia Shake-Out saw people practice the “Stop, Cover and Hold On” protocol designed to prevent injuries and save lives.
“The purpose is to promote awareness of what to do if an earthquake occurs,” said Abbotsford deputy fire chief Ron Hull, who is responsible for emergency planning.
At 10 a.m., participants had to stop what they were doing, cover themselves by crawling under a desk or table, and hold on to ensure a secure hiding place. Participants then evacuated their buildings and met at a pre-designated spot.
The event is based on a similar program in California.
“It’s an opportunity to remind people what to do in an emergency. It’s like a fire drill,” said Hull. In addition to the evacuation, people were reminded to have a minimum of 72 hours worth of food and clean water available at all times.
“If an earthquake hits, you could be on your own for awhile,” said Hull.