Earthquake

earthquake1Earthquakes are common in BC; more than 1200 are recorded each year. They are caused by the continual movement of tectonic plates and strike without warning.

Earthquake Preparedness

earthquake2According to seismic experts, there is a 32% probability of a damaging earthquake occurring in our region in the next 50 years. Although we cannot predict when this will happen, you can be prepared to avoid injury, minimize damage to your home, and to survive afterwards for at least seven days without help.

The most important thing to remember during an earthquake:

earthquake3

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!)
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table (or against a wall with your arms covering your head/neck), and
  • HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

Experts in most areas of the world agree that these three steps are the best way to reduce injury and death during an eartquake.

Before an Earthquake

  • Make and practice a family emergency plan.
  • Ensure each family member and pet has an emergency kit.
  • Train members of your family to use fire extinguishers and ensure everyone knows where to locate utility shutoffs.
  • Sign up now for a first-aid course, including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Make an appointment now with your insurance broker to talk about your earthquake insurance. Check your coverage... it will affect your loss and financial ability to recover after an earthquake.
  • Talk to your children about what to do if they're at home, at school, if the quake separates your family.Become familiar with the school's earthquake plan.

Preparing your Home

  • Know the safe and dangerous places in your home:
    • Safe: under heavy tables or desks; inside hallways; corners of rooms or archways.
    • Dangerous: near windows or mirrors; under any objects that can fall; the kitchen... where the stove, refrigerator or contents of cupboards may move violently; doorways, because the shaking may slam the door on you.
  • Go through your home and imagine what may happen to each part of it if it were shaken violently. Work with your building or strata corporation manager to help quake-proof your home. Seek advice from professionals (insurance, engineers, architects) if you are unsure what to do.
  • Check for home hazards: Is the house bolted to its foundations? Are the walls braced? Chimneys weak? Are roof tiles loose? Make necessary repairs now?
  • Tie down your water heater and other appliances that could break gas or water lines if they topple.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture (eg: shelving units) to prevent tipping. Keep heavy items on lower shelves.
  • Fix mirrors and other hanging objects so they won't fall of hooks.
  • Locate beds away from chimneys, windows, heavy pictures, etc. Closed curtains will help keep broken window glass off nearby occupied beds.
  • Put anti-skid pads (eg: Velcro) under TVs, VCRs, computers and small appliances.
  • Store valuable documents and special small keepsakes in a fire-resistant place.
  • Keep sturdy shoes and outdoor clothing handy.
  • Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out.
  • Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they can't spill. Keep them in a safe cupboard if they can't be stored in an outside shed.
  • Put plywood up in the attic on joists around each chimney to help prevent bricks and mortar from coming through a ceiling.

During the earthquake

Drop, Cover, and Hold on!

  • If you're inside your home, stay there. Get out of the kitchen. safer places are inside halls, in corners, in archways. Take cover under a heavy table, desk or any solid furniture that you can get under and hold onto.
  • If you're in bed, stay there and protect your head and face with a pillow.
  • If you're in a wheelchair, lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops.
  • Protect your head and face. Doors may slam on your fingers if you're in a doorway. Avoid areas near windows.
  • If you're in a yard outside your home, stay there and get clear of buildings and wires that could fall on you.
  • Don't go outside where you may be hit by falling debris, sidewalks next to tall buildings are particularly dangerous.
  • Avoid elevators. If you're in an elevator when an earthquake happens, hit all floor buttons and get out when you can. High rise residents will hear fire alarms go off and electricity may fail.
  • If you're in a vehicle, pull over to the side (leave the road clear), away from bridges, overpasses and buildings. Stay in your vehicle.
  • If you're in a crowded public place, take cover and watch that you don't get trampled. In shopping centres, take cover in the nearest store and keep away from windows, skylights and display shelves of heavy objects.
  • Remain in a protected place until the shaking stops. Anticipate aftershocks... they may occur soon after the first quake.
  • Try to remain calm and help others.

After the earthquake

  • Check yourself and others nearby for injuries... administer first aid quickly and carefully.
  • If you are evacuating, locate and take your emergency kit with you.
  • Check utilities but do not shut them off unless damaged. Leaking gas will smell. Don't light matches or turn on light switches... until you are sure there are no gas leaks or flammable liquids.
  • Wear sturdy shoes, gloves and protective clothing if it's winter and/or if there's debris, particularly broken glass.
  • Check your neighbors after looking after your own family. Your first help after an earthquake usually will come from family and friends.
  • Place a HELP sign in windows if you need extra assistance.
  • Confine frightened pets.
  • Don't flush toilets if you suspect nearby sewer lines are broken.
  • Secure your home against intruders.
  • Turn on your battery-powered radio (or car radio) and listen for broadcast emergency instructions.
  • Don't use your telephone, except in an extreme (life-threatening) emergency.
  • Stay at least ten metres from downed power lines.
  • Avoid waterfront areas because of the threat of large waves (tsunamis)