Campus notices

Earthquake preparedness—do the drill & get ready to shake it out!

October 21, 2021

British Columbia is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active region where the movement of tectonic plates can lead to earthquakes of various magnitudes, and one day, potentially a major one.

To better prepare and raise awareness, SFU students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in The Great British Columbia ShakeOut, an annual earthquake preparedness and awareness drill, happening around the province on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 10:21 a.m.

In addition to the drill, staff and students can test out a Raspberry Shake, a small seismograph newly installed outside the Department of Earth Sciences main office (7000 level of TASC 1).

The sensors can detect and measure the strength of ground vibrations caused by large events —avalanches, landslides, and earthquakes—and even the subtle footsteps of people walking or jumping nearby. The vibrations are recorded in real-time, transmitted to the computer and the data is captured in a waveform graph displayed on screen. 

SFU Earth Sciences professor Glyn Williams-Jones says the low-cost device is a unique tool to engage the public in citizen science research, raise awareness and encourage everyone to learn how to be prepared in the event of a major earthquake.

“One of the benefits of being prepared is that we now know what to do, and that we’ve done the best we can to protect our families and friends,” says Williams-Jones. “When we know how to respond during a crisis that takes a lot of the nervousness away. We can sleep better at night knowing that we’re prepared.”

Earthquake preparedness tips

  • Secure items in your home
  • Make an emergency plan for your household
  • Build an emergency kit and a grab-and-go bag containing essential supplies including non-perishable food and water
  • During an earthquake, remember to drop to your hands and knees, cover your head and neck with one arm and hold on to your shelter, such as a desk, with the other hand. If you can’t find shelter, drop and cover your head and neck with both hands.

For more earthquake preparedness tips, visit