What to do in an Earthquake

Posted: June 24, 2010 by Matthew Casey in Articles
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By Matthew Casey

Apparent by the number of people who evacuated buildings during June 23rd's 5.0 earthquake in Ontario, many people did not know what to do in this situation.

Since the earthquake that occurred in Eastern Canada has many people still talking, it may be a good idea to go over the proper safety procedures to follow in an earthquake.  What was quite evident in talking to most office workers who were downtown or in any high-rise that experienced the shaking is that nobody knew what to do.

Prof. Paul Kovacs of the University of Western Ontario says in an interview with CBC that what most people did by evacuating office buildings during the event was one of the worst things to do.   Debris that is most likely to injure or kill people would come from the exterior of the building.  During an earthquake many pieces of debris will fall from the exterior of a building, however, most of the high rises in major cities are built to withstand the force of a strong earthquake making the safest place to be inside of them.  If you are going to leave the building then the next best thing to do would be to get as far away from the structure as possible, this is something that many office workers did not do in yesterday’s quake.

If you are wondering what steps to take in an earthquake to stay safe you can check out this link at getprepared.ca which details everything from what to expect from a minor and major quake to how to prepare your home for one.

Listed here are the steps to take to remain safe if you find yourself in an earthquake.

If indoors:

• Stay inside.

• Drop under heavy furniture such as a table, desk, bed

or any solid furniture.

• Cover your head and torso to prevent being hit by falling


• Hold onto the object that you are under so that you remain


• If you can’t get under something strong, or if you are in a

hallway, flatten yourself or crouch against an interior wall.

• If you are in a shopping mall, go into the nearest store.

Stay away from windows, and shelves with heavy objects.

• If you are at school, get under a desk or table and hold on.

Face away from windows.

• If you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and protect the

back of your head and neck.

If you are outdoors:

• Stay outside.

• Go to an open area away from buildings.

• If you are in a crowded public place, take cover where you

won’t be trampled.

If you are in a vehicle:

• Pull over to a safe place where you are not blocking the

road. Keep roads clear for rescue and emergency vehicles.

• Avoid bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings or

anything that could collapse.

• Stop the car and stay inside.

• Listen to your car radio for instructions from emergency


• Do not attempt to get out of your car if downed power

lines are across it. Wait to be rescued.

• Place a HELP sign in your window if you need assistance.

• If you are on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops. Take

cover in a protected place. If you can’t take cover, sit in a

crouched position and protect your head from falling debris.

To reiterate, the Eastern half of the country is not prone to major violent quakes and people should not panic about another major event occurring. However, it doesn’t hurt to know what to do in the event that a more significant event was to occur.


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