Before an Earthquake

  • Avoid storing heavy objects on high shelves
  • Secure bookcases, cabinets and equipment
  • Install restraints on laboratory chemical shelves and store glass cylinders in properly designed racks
  • Be familiar with emergency plans and procedures
  • Have an emergency kit at home, office and car
  • Practice earthquake response often and participate in earthquake drills

During an Earthquake

Earthquakes occur without warning.  They may be so violent that you cannot walk, run or crawl; you may be knocked to the ground.  Immediately protect yourself as best you can wherever you are:

Inside &
In Class

  • Stay inside, remain calm, stay where you are and protect yourself
  • Drop under a table, desk, or other sturdy piece of furniture
  • Hold on and remain covered until the shaking stops
  • Stay away from windows and shelves with heavy objects
  • If you can't get under something, flatten yourself or crouch against an interior wall


  • Stay Outside
  • Go to an open area away from buildings, glass and power lines
  • Do not enter any buildings until they have been approved for re-entry

In Transit

  • If you are inside your car, pull over.  Avoid overhead structures such as bridges and overpasses.  Set the parking brake and stay inside the car.
  • If you are on the bus, stay seated until the bus stops then Drop, Cover and Hold until the Shaking Stops. Stay inside if it is safe to do so.

Mobility Challenges

  • If you can, follow the drop, cover, hold-on procedure
  • If you are in a wheel chair, move to an inner wall if safe to do so.  Lock the brakes and cover your head with your arms.
  • If available use a blanket or pillow to shield your face from falling debris/glass
  • If you have other mobility concerns, arrange your usual seating areas away from windows so you can stay seated.  Use seat cushions or pillows to shield yourself from falling debris and broken glass
  • When the shaking stops move to refuge areas

After an Earthquake

  • After the shaking stops count to 60 and then move cautiously outside to an open area and gather with others to wait for further information
  • Things may have shifted in the shaking so move carefully and be aware of your surroundings
  • Expect aftershocks
  • Avoid broken glass and debris
  • Do not use elevators
  • Do not re-enter buildings until they have been inspected and approved for re-entry by a professional
  • Check yourself and others nearby for injuries
  • Do not leave SFU until you have checked in with your supervisor to let them know you are safe.  If you don't check in they may think you are injured somewhere and responders will be looking for you.

Safety Tips

During the shaking, protect yourself by taking cover under a table, desk or crouch against an interior wall. Protect your head and neck and do not leave cover until the shaking has completely stopped

Try to predetermine a safe location to take cover in, prior to an earthquake

Do not stand in a doorway, under light fixtures, near bookshelves, beside windows, etc.  because you become exposed to shrapnel hazard

Keep calm. Do not run. Watch for falling debris or electrical wires when leaving the building. Do not use elevators

If fire occurs, activate the nearest fire alarm pull station (as the system may still be functional) and follow procedures as outlined in the Fire Section

If qualified and it is safe to do so, give first aid to those who need it. Or assist those who are giving first aid and those in need

Alert Emergency Response Personnel to any details which may be critical to enable evacuation/rescue. Report any missing persons to Campus Security Patrol personnel.

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