Port Coquitlam's emergency preparedness manager Cheryl Lalonde may not have been at last Sunday's Grammy Awards but a new song she helped write to promote earthquake preparedness is likely to be a big hit with kids.
Last week the song "Expect It - Have You Prepared" was performed at Citadel middle school and Castle Park elementary to inform kids in a fun way about what to do when the big one hits.
Lalonde helped provide background for the song, which was written by local performer and songwriter Sam Ghawi and his FUSIONPresents colleagues Nathalie Bernard and Daniel Yamamoto. It was recorded with the voices of Kilmer elementary school's children's choir in November and is now ready to be shared in live performances with other students.
"It's a great way to get the message out," said Lalonde, who said she enjoyed collaborating with the musicians on the catchy song with an educational component.
The project started last spring when Ghawi ready a story in The Tri-City News about PoCo's emergency preparedness program. The longtime performer said he felt compelled to find a way to explain to children how to prepare for an earthquake without frightening them.
"I have experienced a slight quake," Ghawi said, but he didn't know what he needed to do to be better prepared. Through his collaboration with Lalonde, he learned to "drop, cover and hold" in a quake and what items he needed for his "grab-and-go bag."
"I started out by saying to her, 'Teach me.' The first two weeks were her educating me about earthquakes," said Ghawi.
Now he is quake-proofing his home and he has a grab-and-go bag containing bottled water, food, radio batteries and other items in case he has to take care of himself for up to 72 hours without power, water or heat.
Ghawi also took part in the recent Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill in which B.C. residents were encouraged to take cover under a desk or table, grab hold of something sturdy like a table leg and cover their heads and necks for 60 seconds.
He said the song has been written in safety language that is standard across the country so it can be shared with students throughout Canada. PoCo schools will get the rights to the song for free but it can also be downloaded on iTunes and FUSIONPresents will perform at schools upon request.
"The schools are the main target. It's the kids because obviously they'll grow up and they'll have the knowledge as they age. If we have it on a revolving basis then every kid will get it."
For more information, visit www.fusionpresents.com/ep.htm or check out the city of Port Coquitlam's website (www.portcoquitlam.ca) and click on Emergency Preparedness under Citizen Services and Community Safety.
SING IT LOUD
Something's happening! There's a shift in the ground!
This building's moving! And things are falling down!
What is happening? Oh no! This doesn't feel right!
I'm losing balance - am I in the middle of a quake?
- "Expect It - Have You Prepared" emergency preparedness song by Sam Ghawi and FUSIONpresents