Know what to do during and after an earthquake

Vancouver is located in active earthquake region that could be impacted by an earthquake at any moment.

Earthquakes happen without warning, and may be so strong that you will not be able to run or crawl. You may be knocked to the ground.

Be prepared by knowing what to during and after an earthquake.

What to expect

An earthquake can be a scary experience, with a lot of loud noise and unfamiliar movement. If you know what to expect during an earthquake, you will be less afraid, making it easier to keep yourself and your family safe.

During an earthquake:

  • There might be violent shaking, or some sudden thumps
  • Light fixtures will sway and furniture will shake and start to move across the floor
  • Tall, unsupported bookshelves and filing cabinets may fall over and unsecured items like televisions and china may fall from their shelves
  • Fire and burglar alarms will likely go off, and buildings may creak and groan

How to protect yourself during an earthquake

What to do after an earthquake

After an earthquake you may experience aftershocks, which can occur minutes, hours, or even days after the earthquake.

Immediately after an earthquake and the shaking has stopped you should:

  • Move to high ground and away from water as an earthquake felt in Vancouver is likely to be accompanied by a tsunami
  • Look around to make sure it is safe to move and then exit the building
  • Check yourself and others for injuries, and help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate
  • Call for help.Be careful around broken glass and debris, and wear boots or sturdy shoes to keep from cutting your feet
  • Check for the smell of gas, and if you smell gas, open all the windows and doors, leave immediately, and report it to the authorities
  • Look for fallen power lines
  • Look out for fire. It is the most common hazard after an earthquake. Look for and extinguish small fires. Be aware that the electricity supply could  be cut, and sprinklers and alarms in buildings may go off even if there is no fire
  • Stay out of damaged buildings, and return home only when deemed safe by authorities
  • Follow the emergency plan or the instructions of the person in charge at school or work
  • Only call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a life or death emergency. Do not call 9-1-1 for information or updates. This will help prevent the telephone network from overloading.
  • Keep informed:
    • Monitor radio, television, or online news channels for important information updates
    • Download the Alertable smartphone app today to get important updates and safety information about emergencies
    • Monitor the City of Vancouver’s official social media channels

Personal preparedness

Get the help, information, and training you need to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe during an emergency.

Public safety alerts

During emergency situations, stay informed about important safety instructions and updates in the city of Vancouver.

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