Earthquake

A major earthquake could occur at any time in British Columbia. Careful planning and preparation can minimize injuries, prevent panic and facilitate rescue and cleanup.

Earthquake

What to do to be prepared before an earthquake?

Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days. Emergency resources will be overwhelmed following a major earthquake. Government response plans assume that you will do your part to be ready.

  • Avoid storing heavy objects on high shelves
  • Secure bookcases, cabinets, and equipment
  • Install restraints on laboratory shelves and store glass cylinders in properly designed racks
  • Be familiar with emergency plans and procedures
  • Have an emergency kit at home, office and car
  • Practice earthquake response often and participate in earthquake drills like ShakeOut BC

For more emergency preparedness information, visit prepare BC

^ Back to Top

What to include in a basic emergency supply kit

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

For a full supplies, visit prepare BC

^ Back to Top

What to do during an earthquake if you are indoors or in a classroom?

During the shaking

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, then DROP, COVER and HOLD ON:
  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.
  • If you can’t get under something strong, or if you are in a hallway, crouch against an interior wall and protect your head and neck with your arms. Stay indoors till the shaking stops and you are sure it is safe to exit. In most buildings in British Columbia you are safer if you stay where you are until the shaking stops

After the shaking stops

  • Count to 60 to allow debris to finish falling after the shaking stops.
  • Assess your immediate surroundings for dangers. Proceed with evacuating the building.
  • Upon exiting the building, proceed directly to the designated assembly area.
  • Proceed to the designated Area of Refuge if you have difficulty negotiating the stairs or if you need assistance in evacuating.
  • If an aftershock occurs during evacuation and you are still inside the building, repeat DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON procedure before resuming evacuation.

^ Back to Top

What to do during an earthquake if you are outdoors?

During the shaking

  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, you should find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, and power lines, then DROP, COVER and HOLD ON
  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • if possible COVER your head from falling debris, and
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

After the shaking stops

  • Count to 60 to allow debris to finish falling after the shaking stops.
  • Assess your immediate surroundings for dangers (e.g. fallen wires).
  • Proceed directly to a safe location.

^ Back to Top

What to do during an earthquake if you are in transit?

  • In a car – Pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seat belt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • On a bus – stay in your seat until the bus stops. Sit in a crouched position and protect your head from falling debris.

^ Back to Top

What to do during an earthquake if you use a wheelchair?

  • If you are able, follow DROP, COVER and HOLD ON procedure, seek shelter under a sturdy table or desk.
  • Try to get into an inside corner of the room (or an open area if you are outside)
  • Stay away from outer walls, windows and hanging objects.
  • Lock the wheels of your chair and cover your head with your arms.
  • If available use a blanket or pillow to shield your face from falling debris/glass
  • If you have other mobility concerns, arrange your usual seating areas away from windows so you can stay seated. Use seat cushions or pillows to shield yourself from falling debris and broken glass
  • When the shaking stops move to refuge areas if available in your building or find a safe location to shelter-in-place until assistance arrives

^ Back to Top

What can I do to assist after an earthquake?

Provide aid

  • Give first aid to injured persons. Do not move victims unless absolutely necessary.
  • Report hazards to emergency personnel.

Follow instructions

  • Do not use telephones except to report medical emergencies, fires, chemical spills, gas leaks or other hazards.
  • Monitor battery powered or car radio for directions (if power and communication technology is available UBC will provide information on www.ubc.ca, campus digital signage, and by the emergency notification system via text and voice message (only to registered numbers).
  • Replace telephone handsets that have been shaken off.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Do not leave area or return home until authorities say it is safe to do so—this could be up to 72 hours.

^ Back to Top