Earthquakes Are a Reality for Our Area

Imagine that you hear a low, rumbling, roaring sound. The noise builds, getting louder and louder, for about ten seconds. Then WHACK! There’s a tremendous jolt. You feel like someone suddenly slammed on the brakes in the car, or like a truck just rammed into the side of a building.

The floor seems to be moving beneath you. It's hard to stand up, or even stay in your seat. When you walk, it's like trying to walk on a trampoline or a waterbed. You need to DROP, COVER and HOLD.

How to Prepare

  • Review Before an Emergency for general information on how to prepare.
  • Build or restock your Emergency Preparedness Kit.
  • Look around places where you spend time. Identify safe places such as under sturdy furniture or against an interior wall in your home, office or school so that when the shaking starts, you Drop to the ground, Cover your head and neck with your arms, crawl to a safe place and Hold On.
  • Practice how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On!”. You only have seconds to protect yourself.
  • Secure items that could fall and cause injuries.
  • Store critical supplies and documents.
  • Check to see if your home or business is earthquake resistant.
  • Review your insurance to make sure you have earthquake coverage.

During an Earthquake

  • Drop, Cover, and Hold On!
  • Stay where you are until the shaking stops. Do not run outside. Do not get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects.
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms to protect yourself from falling debris.
  • If you are in BED, stay there and protect your head and neck with a pillow.
  • If in the SHOWER, drop and cover your head as best as you can.
  • If you're on a HIGH-RISE BUILDING and not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Face away from the windows. Do not use elevators. Do not be surprised if alarm or sprinkler systems come on.
  • If you're OUTDOORS, move to a clear area away from trees, signs, buildings or downed electrical wires and poles.
  • If you're on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, get into a building's doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
  • If you're DRIVING, slowly pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
  • If you're in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves with objects that could fall on you.
  • If you're in a WHEELCHAIR, move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels and protect your head with your arms.
  • If you're in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove and overhead cupboards. (Take time now to anchor appliances and install security latches on cupboard doors to reduce hazards.)
  • If you're in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner.

After the Shaking Stops

  • Be aware that aftershocks may follow, be prepared to “Drop, Cover and Hold On”.
  • If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to an open space away from damaged areas.
  • If you are trapped, do not move or kick up dust.
  • If you have a cell phone, use it to call or text for help.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle so rescuers can locate you.
  • Look for and extinguish small fires.
  • Open closets and cabinets carefully as contents may have shifted.
  • Check local media sources for information.
  • Put your family plan into action.
  • Retrieve your emergency kit.
  • Contact family and loved ones to let them know you are okay. Use social media, or your out-of-area contact if local telephone services are unavailable.
  • Administer first aid if needed.
  • Check your home for damage. Look for broken electrical wires, gas leaks, water and sewer and know how to turn off those services. Also check for structural cracks.
  • Check in with your neighbours, especially those who may need assistance.
  • Restock any emergency supplies that you have used.

Drop, Cover and Roll 

When the shaking begins drop under a sturdy desk, table or piece of furniture. Hold onto the legs of the furniture and hold this position while counting to 60. This will provide coverage to protect you from flying and falling debris. 

Visit Emergency Info BC for information about active emergencies in British Columbia.
Download: Earthquake & Tsunami Guide
Download: Earthquake Checklist