Water sloshing around swimming pools and raging house fires flashed across T.V screens Friday night after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit southern California for the second straight day.

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the same area near Ridgecrest Thursday.

Here in B.C., experts say the coast is due for a major earthquake likely between 7 and 9 on the Richter Scale anytime in the next 200 years, but that the two California quakes are unrelated to what could happen here.

“Geologically the occurrence of California earthquakes probably has no physical links to the occurrence of earthquakes here in offshore Vancouver Island,” said Dr. Honn Kao, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

But when the Big One does hit B.C. there could be widespread devastation and experts say that while this latest wake-up call has us talking and thinking about the ramifications, the danger is that we become complacent once again.

“For earthquakes, the seismic hazard risk and its potential implication for economic loss and injuries and possible fatalities is very real,” added Dr. Kao.

Fire departments on the island say damage to infrastructure could delay firefighters getting to you with help if you need it.

Infrastructure is affected so we could have issues with roadways, we could have issues with gas lines and water lines that are affected in a major event,” said Comox Fire Assistant Chief Rick Shelton.

“And this may separate you from first responder assistance or reduce the effectiveness of first responders when they get there.”

The Comox Fire Department sells 72-hour emergency kits that include everything from water to a flashlight, radio and more, to help you get through the first few days on your own.

“If you build a kit, either an emergency kit like this one or if you build a kit for yourself with a tent, sleeping bag, tarps that sort of thing, keep it in an area that’s not in your basement or even in the building because if your structure fails you’re not going to be able to get to that kit,” added Shelton.

Dean Stoltz