BC is considered a high-risk earthquake zone, so be prepared to be on your own for a minimum of 72 hours by developing a household plan, putting together your emergency kit and connecting with your neighbours. By planning ahead and practicing drills, you and your family will know what to do.
We are located in an active earthquake region that could be impacted by an earthquake at any moment. Earthquakes happen without warning, be prepared by knowing what to do during and after an earthquake.
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
Drop, Cover and Hold On
If you are inside, stay inside. DO NOT run outside or to other rooms during shaking.
- DROP down onto your hands and knees (before the earthquake knocks you down). This position protects you from falling, but allows you to still move if necessary.
- COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall (or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you), and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.
How to protect yourself during an earthquake
In a building
Crouch in an inside corner of a room
If there is no table or desk near you, do not try to run to another room to get under a table. Instead, stay where you are, cover your face and head with your arms, and crouch in an inside corner of the room. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
Many studies of injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the past several decades show that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects – such as TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases – than to be killed in a collapsed building.
Avoid standing in a doorway
In a vehicle or driving
Pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the handbrake. Avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. If a power line falls on the car, stay inside until a trained person removes the wire.
What to do after an earthquake
After an earthquake you may experience aftershocks, which can occur minutes, hours, or even days after the earthquake continue to drop, cover and hold on if you feel them. It is important to stay calm and move cautiously, checking for unstable objects and other hazards above and around you. If you are injured, treat yourself first and then assist others.
Immediately after an earthquake and the shaking has stopped you should:
- 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.
Dial 9-1-1 only if a life is at stake – otherwise stay off your phones to help prevent telephone network overload.
Tune in to local radio or television stations after an emergency or disaster for important information updates.
Follow us on our social media channels, listen to radio or television. The most important thing is to seek out credible sources so you can make good decisions during a disaster.
Port Coquitlam Emergency Preparedness Office
Location and Mailing Address
#1 Fire Hall
1725 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC
Business Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)