What to do during and after an Earthquake

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After seeing the destruction and death in Haiti, it made me start thinking about what I would do if an Earthquake hit.  The more I started to think about it, the more I released that living in Vancouver, BC I should be more educated.  The western side of British Columbia which is where Vancouver is located, is considered the most vunerable in the country.

Two tectonic plates, the North American Plate and the Juan de Fuca Plate rub against each other, the North American Plate gradually sliding underneath the other, building pressure along the plate boundary.  Scentists predict this will cause a subduction earthquake that could measure up to a magniture of 9.  An earthquake that based on the geological history in the region, is long overdue.

Most earthquake related injury or death is due to collapsing walls, falling debris, objects and broken glass. You are actually more likely to die from falling objects then a collapsing building.  To try and prevent injury and death, you should be prepared and know what to do during and after an earthquake.

Be Prepared

  • Have an emergency plan for you and your family.  How and where your family will meet up, and practise drills.
  • Have an emergency kit prepared.  Your kit should include:  Flashlight, batteries, battery powered radio, first aid kit, medications,  canned food, can opener, bottled water, blankets and spare clothes.

During an Earthquake

Remember to Drop, Cover and Hold. Drop under a heavy object such as a table, cover your head and shoulders and hold onto the heavy object to remain covered.

  • If you are indoors, stay inside.  If you can’t get under a desk, stand against an interior wall.  Remember to stay away from windows, glass, heavy furniture and appliances.
  • If you are outdoors, move away from buildings, streetlights and powerlines. Try and get into a clear area.
  • If you are driving, pull to the side and stop.  Try and not park near bridges, overpasses, trees and stay clear of powerlines.
  • If in an overcrowded area, don’t panic and run for an exit.  Stay calm and stay low.

After an Earthquake

  • Check for hazzards. Shut off gas or electricity if any evidence of damage.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Keep the phone lines clear and stay off the roads.
  • Be aware of objects that may have moved such as in cupboards.
  • Listen to the radio for updated information and instructions.  Remember that aftershocks may occur.
  • If tap water is available, fill containers and the bathtub.
  • If you leave the house, leave a note for family or friends.

Be prepared, stay calm and drop, cover and hold!


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