During an Emergency

Specific Emergency Situations - Earthquakes

During an earthquake

During an earthquake, find a safe place immediately and stay there until the shaking stops.

  • If you're indoors when an earthquake occurs, "DROP, COVER, HOLD ON":
    • Drop under heavy furniture, such as a table, desk or bed.
    • Cover your head and torso to prevent being hit by falling objects.
    • Hold onto the object that you are under so that you remain covered.

If you can't get under something strong or if you are in a hallway, flatten yourself or crouch against an interior wall.

    • Stay inside and away from windows and shelves with heavy objects.
    • Face away from any windows.
    • If you're in a shopping mall, go to the nearest store.
    • If you're at school, get under a desk or table and hold on.
    • If you're in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and protect the back of your head and neck.
    • If you're in an office building or apartment, don't use the elevators. If you are in an elevator during an earthquake, hit the buttons for every floor and get out as soon as you can.

  • If you're outdoors:
    • Stay outside.
    • Go to an open area away from buildings.

  • If you're in a vehicle:
    • Drive to a safe place where you aren't blocking the road. Roads need to be kept clear for emergency vehicles.
    • Avoid bridges, overpasses, buildings, or anything that could collapse.
    • Listen to your car radio for instructions from emergency officials.
    • Don't try to leave your car if downed power lines have fallen across it: wait to be rescued.
    • Place a "CALL POLICE" or other help sign in your window if you need help.

If you're on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops and seek shelter in a protected place. If you can't cover yourself, sit in a crouched position and protect your head from falling debris.

After an earthquake

After an earthquake:

  • Help others if it's safe to do so.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Check your home for damage and other hazards. If you think your home is unsafe, leave and don't re-enter.
  • Listen to the radio or television for information from authorities.
    • Follow their instructions.
    • Only use the phone for important calls.
  • Leaking natural gas has a distinctive smell.
    • If you smell gas, leave your home immediately.
    • Don't light matches or turn on light switches until you're certain there isn't a gas leak or any flammable liquids spilled around you.
    • Use a flashlight to check utilities. Don't shut your utilities off if they're damaged.
  • Check on your neighbours after taking care of those in your home.

The content on this page is adapted from information on earthquakes provided by Public Safety Canada. For more information on earthquakes, read a detailed guide from Public Safety Canada.

Revised: Friday July 04 2014

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