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Be prepared

Plan and prepare yourself and your family for an earthquake or another major disaster

Make an evacuation plan

  • Designate a family meeting place - one just outside the home and a secondary place outside of the neighbourhood
  • Establish an out of province contact
  • Prepare your home 
  • Prepare emergency supplies
  • Go through your home, imagining what could happen to each part of it if it were shaken violently.
  • Seek advice from professionals (insurance, engineers, architects) if you are unsure what to do.

If you live in a condo or apartment building, you may experience more sway and less vibration than in a single-storey building. Work with your building or strata corporation manager to help quake-proof your home. 

Prepare your home

  • Know your utility shut-off valves (gas, electric, water)
  • Plan all possible exits
  • Check for home hazards: Is the house bolted to its foundations? Are the walls braced? Chimneys weak? Are roof tiles loose? Make necessary repairs now
  • Tie down your water heater and other appliances that could break gas or water lines if they topple.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture (eg: shelving units) to prevent tipping. Keep heavy items on lower shelves. ]
  • Fix mirrors and other hanging objects so they won't fall of hooks.
  • Locate beds away from chimneys, windows, heavy pictures, etc.
  • Closed curtains will help keep broken window glass off nearby occupied beds.
  • Put anti-skid pads (eg: Velcro) under TVs, VCRs, computers and small appliances.
  • Store valuable documents and special small keepsakes in a fire-resistant place.
  • Keep sturdy shoes and outdoor clothing handy.
  • Use child-proof or safety latches on cupboards to stop contents from spilling out.
  • Keep flammable items and household chemicals away from heat and where they can't spill. Keep them in safe cupboard if they can't be stored in an outside shed.
  • Put plywood up in the attic on joists around each chimney to help prevent bricks and mortar from coming through a ceiling.

Earthquake Preparedeness Videos

This series of videos will help you prepar your home for an earthquake:

View all of the above videos in a playlist:

Note: all videos courtesy of the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

Family preparing looking at book
Last updated: 22/10/2013 10:20:30 AM