Preparing for an earthquake
- Identify the risks in your environment
Scan your home, school or workplace for potential risks such as items that could fall down in an earthquake, and secure them. Figure out which furniture and items are likely to fall and cause injuries, and either remove or secure them.
- Check with your insurance broker to find out whether you are covered in the event of an earthquake. Your coverage could have an impact on your financial ability to recover losses after an earthquake.
- Prepare your emergency plan
Emergency situations are unpredictable, and often happen when the family is dispersed. Having an emergency plan will save you time and reduce the stress in an emergency. Think of the different scenarios (children at school, friends you can stay with, inaccessible neighbourhoods, phones not working, etc.).
- Prepare your 72-hour emergency kit
In an emergency, you will need certain basic items. You may have to make do without electricity or running water. Be prepared to manage on your own for at least 72 hours. Your kit should be easy to carry (e.g. backpack, travel bag, suitcase on wheels), and stored in a readily accessible spot known to all family members (e.g. entryway closet).
In case of an earthquake
No matter where you may be when an earthquake happens, immediately seek shelter. If necessary, go someplace nearby that is safe, and stay there until the tremors stop.
If you are indoors: TAKE SHELTER AND HANG ON
- Stay inside.
- Take shelter under a heavy piece of furniture such as a table, desk, bed or other solid piece of furniture.
- Cover your head and your chest to protect yourself from falling objects.
- Hang onto the object under which you have taken shelter so that you will remain covered. Follow that object as it moves around until the tremors stop.
- If there is no solid furniture under which you can take shelter or if you are in a hallway, crouch down next to a wall and protect your head and neck with your arms.
- If you are in a shopping centre, step into the closest shop. Stay as far away as possible from windows and shelves with heavy objects.
- If you are at school, take shelter under a desk or table and hang onto it. Turn your back to the windows.
- If you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and protect your neck and head.
If you are outside
- Stay outside. Get as far away as possible from any buildings. The most dangerous place is next to a wall.
- If you are in a busy area outside, get as far away from people as possible so you won't be trampled.
If you are driving
- Try to stop in a safe area where you won't block the road so emergency vehicles can get by.
- Avoid bridges, areas under or over viaducts, and roads bordered by buildings that could collapse.
- Stop the car and stay in it.
- Listen to the radio for instructions from officials in charge of emergency services.
- Do not get out of your vehicle if power lines have landed on it. Wait for someone to come and rescue you.
- If you need help, put out a large “HELP” sign.
- If you are in a bus, remain seated until the bus stops. Take shelter in a protected area. If you can't, then double over on your seat and protect your head against debris.
In the event of an earthquake, AVOID the following:
- Doors, which could fall on you and injure you.
- Windows, bookshelves, tall furniture and light stands to reduce the chances of being injured by glass debris or heavy objects.
- Elevators. If you happen to be in an elevator during an earthquake, press the buttons for every floor and get out as quickly as possible.
- Downed power lines. Remain at least 10 metres away from them to avoid injury.
- Seashores. Earthquakes can cause tsunamis. If you happen to be on the seashore during a strong earthquake, immediately head inland or to higher terrain, and wait until the authorities say that it is safe to return.