Drop, cover, and hold on infographic: people icon dropping to the floor, covering their head and getting under a table and holding onto the table

Shaking up the earthquake myths

Don't believe everything you see on the big screen!

October 17 2018 –

To mark Shake Out Day on Thursday, October 18, we are hosting a free screening of Hollywood blockbuster 'San Andreas'—complete with live scientific commentary.

As well as watching the movie, filmgoers will have the chance to learn from Alison Bird, an earthquake seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, about the science behind the film.

Earthquake misconceptions

Many disaster films, such as 'San Andreas', reinforce common myths about earthquakes and, this Shake Out Day, we are looking to dispel those. Alison will be correcting some of those myths at the film screening.

Speaking about common misconceptions, Alison said: "Many people believe that in an earthquake they should run out of a building but this is the most common form of injury due to falling debris. Also, do not stand in a doorway because they do not offer additional protection and the door could slam and hurt you. Remember instead to drop, cover and hold on."

Get free tickets to the screening of San Andreas

Be prepared

While 'San Andreas' may not be particularly realistic, the chance of Vancouver being struck by an earthquake is a very real threat which is why we are hosting the screening, along with a number of events on Shake Out Day, to remind you to be prepared.

Despite us having a robust emergency response plan, you should be prepared to survive on your own for at least 72-hours if a disaster strikes, as critical services will be affected.

Earthquake Preparedness workshops

To help you prepare, we are running Earthquake Preparedness Workshops including ones tailored for condo and apartment residents, and seniors. The workshops are free to attend and will provide you with tips on developing an emergency plan and what to do when an earthquake strikes. 

Get your earthquake questions asked on Reddit

Earlier on Shake Out day (Thursday from 12pm to 1pm), Alison Bird and Micah Hilt, City of Vancouver's seismic policy planner, will be taking part in a Reddit Ask Me Anything , answering questions that residents have about earthquakes and the impact that they may have on Vancouver.

Register to be part of ShakeOut Day  

Even if you have taken part in previous years, you will need to re-register this year to help Shake Out BC reach their goal of one million participants.

Testing our earthquake preparedness strategy

We will test our own earthquake preparedness strategy in May 2019 when staff will take part in 16-hour-long mock earthquake exercise. During the exercise, teams from Vancouver Fire and Rescue, VPD and departments across the city will respond to the predicted outcome of a significant earthquake by doing:

  • Structural assessments of bridges and buildings
  • Setting up emergency evacuation centres
  • Providing information to the public