British Columbia has experienced some of the world's largest earthquakes. Research also shows that there is a 1 in 4 chance that we will have another major earthquake within the next 50 years. Ensure that you take steps to prepare for a potential seismic event and review the procedures below.


Earthquakes occur without warning.  They may be so intense 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

  • Drop, cover, and hold on under a desk, table, interior wall or corner
  • Wait 60 seconds after the shaking stops
  • Proceed to the designated assembly area


  • Stay outside
  • Move 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

  • In a car - Pull over. Avoid overhead structures (i.e. bridges and overpasses). Set the parking brake and stay inside.
  • On a bus - Stay seated until the bus stops. Drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Stay inside if it is safe.


  • 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
  • When the shaking stops move to refuge areas


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

After an earthquake

  • After the shaking stops count to 60 and then move cautiously outside to an open area with others to wait for information
  • Things may have shifted 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
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Do not leave SFU until you have checked in with your supervisor to let them know you are safe.  If you do not check-in they may think you are injured and responders will look for you