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Earthquakes

A major earthquake could occur at anytime in B.C. Careful planning and preparation can reduce injuries, prevent panic, and ease rescues and clean up.

Be prepared before an earthquake by planning both at home and at work. Have a discussion with family members and make an emergency plan in case you are separated. Attend earthquake personal preparedness sessions offered by your Health & Safety committees.

Provincial Emergency Preparedness Program
Earthquake preparedness quiz

Are you ready for an emergency?  Please review the Checklist for instructions.

Before the earthquake

  • Eliminate hazards like heavy, sharp or pointed objects on high shelves, large hanging plants, tall unsecured furniture and shelving units. Chemicals should be stored securely and never above eye level.
  • Plan safe cover for yourself under a desk or table away from glass or other potential flying objects.
  • Know where the Emergency Response cabinet and fire extinguishers are. The area could be isolated for some time after an earthquake. Keep sturdy shoes and a jacket at your workplace. Keep a 72-hour survival kit at work, in your car and at home.
  • Prepare your home and family for emergencies. You may have to remain at the workplace for up to 72 hours if damage is severe. Arrange an out of area contact and point of rendezvous with family members in case you cannot get home.

During the earthquake

  • Stay calm and DROP-COVER-HOLD to protect yourself.
  • Drop to the floor.
  • Take cover under your desk, a sturdy table or other piece of furniture.
  • Hold on to whatever you are under. 
  • If there are no sturdy pieces of furniture available, get into a corner or against a wall, facing out, bring your knees up, cover the sides of your head with your elbows and clasp your hands firmly behind your neck.
  • Stay away (and face away) from windows.
  • Do not stand in a doorway, you will be exposed to flying debris and slamming doors.
  • Stay away from anything that could shatter or fall on you.
  • Do not try to run outside, you may be hit by flying debris.
  • If you are in an elevator, stay there. The elevator will not fall down the shaft and help will be dispatched if the doors jam.
  • Do not leave your shelter until at least 10 seconds after the shaking has stopped.
  • Follow instructions from emergency personnel. Your floor warden will be in touch with security or the incident commander by radio phone for instructions.

After the earthquake

  • Stay calm, take your time, and think before you move.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. You may have to take cover again.
  • In case of fire, activate the alarm if possible and warn others. Use a fire extinguisher, remembering to stay between the fire and the exit. If the fire is uncontrollable, everyone must leave the area, closing doors behind them. Shut off gas and electrical power if possible. Do not use any sources of flame or spark. No smoking.
  • Injuries should be reported to the floor warden or directly to security. First aid should be initiated for serious injuries. Do not move victims unless absolutely necessary. Beware of broken glass, electrical hazards, and gas or chemical leaks. Replace any telephone handsets shaken off and do not use the telephone lines except to report fires or medical emergencies.
  • Do not act independently. Wait for instructions from your floor warden. The incident commander or designate will assume control of the building and will advise wardens of the status of their floors. In case of major damage, the police chief is in charge of operations.
  • You will be given directions as soon as the damage is assessed.
  • Many areas of the College have emergency response cabinets containing emergency supplies, i.e., food, water, blankets, first aid supplies, radio, flashlights, hard hats, shovel, gloves, etc. to be used if you are unable to leave the building.
  • An evacuation of your space will be ordered only if the building safety systems have been compromised, the structural integrity of the building has been compromised or the building is on fire. Exterior evacuation onto the street should be discouraged, as it is more dangerous outside the building following an earthquake than within it because of potential falling debris.