Earthquake drill at DoubleTree Victoria

Francis Mairet, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Victoria demonstrates drop, cover and hold on.

Francis Mairet, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Victoria demonstrates drop, cover and hold on.

VICTORIA — In preparation for the Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites demonstrated its commitment to keeping its staff and guests safe by leading a building-wide earthquake drill planned in partnership with ShakeOut B.C.

In the past year, there have been four earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or more off the coast of Vancouver Island. It was those recent earthquakes that prompted Kara Van Der Vlugt, social media and marketing manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Victoria, to call friends who worked at ShakeOut B.C. to ask about earthquake preparedness, and then approach the hotel’s management to set up an earthquake drill.

This was the first drill of its kind in the tourism and accommodation industry. 

The drill took place on Oct. 18 at 1:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Suites Victoria, two days before the province-wide ShakeOut B.C. earthquake drill. The drill involved hotel staff members, hotel restaurants, ShakeOut team members and the Victoria Fire Department. 

“It went really well, it was a great training experience for our staff,” Van Der Vlugt told CLN.  

“We wanted to participate in a drill such as this so our staff could be fully trained in a natural disaster scenario, especially with our location being in a seismic zone,” Van Der Vlugt added. 

During the drill, staff demonstrated the recommended “drop, cover and hold on” protective action to take during an earthquake and then evacuated the property once they initiated the fire aspect of the drill. 

Two team members also acted as guests in a rescue scenario with the Victoria Fire Department and were removed from the building via a fourth-floor balcony and a fire truck crane.

After the drill, hotel team members responded by evacuating the building and conducting a simulated rapid damage assessment to test their emergency procedures. 

The Victoria Fire Department supported this exercise by responding to the event.

Ashley Fritter (Guest Services Manager), Andy Wilson (Director of Engineering), Connie Robertson (Guest Services Manager), Emily Dicken (Fire & Emergency Management Public Education Coordinator at Emergency Managment BC), Samantha Watkins (Online Community Facilitator), Wendy McNabb (Director of Sales at the DoubleTree) and Wendy Magnes (Manager, Corporate Projects & Emergency Programs at Destination BC).

Ashley Fritter (Guest Services Manager), Andy Wilson (Director of Engineering), Connie Robertson (Guest Services Manager), Emily Dicken (Fire & Emergency Management Public Education Coordinator at Emergency Managment BC), Samantha Watkins (Online Community Facilitator), Wendy McNabb (Director of Sales at the DoubleTree) and Wendy Magnes (Manager, Corporate Projects & Emergency Programs at Destination BC).

Other B.C. hotels were among the 800,000 people in the province who participated in The Great British Columbia ShakeOut. Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, Middle Beach Lodge and Tofino Hostel in Tofino, Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa and Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria; and Listel Hotel and Trump International Hotel & Tower in Vancouver were listed on the Great British Columbia ShakeOut website as participants. Eleven hotels with 835 participants were registered in Canada. 

The worldwide total is almost 55 million people registered in 2016 Great ShakeOut drills as of Oct. 31.