British Columbia's southwest corner is the most active earthquake region in Canada. More than 200 earthquakes are recorded each year in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Most are too small to be felt, but an earthquake that is capable of causing major structural damage can be expected to occur about once every ten years.
What to do in the event of an earthquake
- Turn away from windows, glass and mirrors. Glass shards can fly considerable distances when windows break under earthquake forces.
- Take cover under a sturdy desk table or bed to prevent injury from falling debris. Doorways are also relatively sturdy areas under which to take cover. Suspended ceiling panels will often torque and pop out in an earthquake. Do not panic; this does not mean that the building is collapsing.
- Always look up! Check for electrical wires etc. Watch at all times. Do not close your eyes to wait for the earthquake to end.
- Keep calm, and stay where you are until the shaking stops. Do not run into the street; risk from falling debris is greatest just outside a building.
- If you are outside, try to keep to open areas, well clear of buildings and power lines.
- If you are driving, pull over immediately and stop your vehicle, preferably in an open area and not on a down-slope. Remain in your vehicle until the earthquake stops.
- After an earthquake, follow emergency broadcasts carefully, and restrict telephone calls to genuine emergencies.