Earthquake Road Safety

“Drop, Cover, Hold On.”

If you live or travel in B.C., let’s hope these four words aren’t news to you. They describe the first three life-saving actions to take during an earthquake.

  • Drop to the ground, before the quake drops you
  • Take cover under a sturdy desk or table
  • Hold on, since your cover is going to bounce and shift

With more than 3,000 earthquakes in B.C. each year, there’s a good chance you’ll need this sage advice during your lifetime. But what happens when you’re not near a desk or table? Given the amount of time we spend on the road, you may be in a vehicle. Here's how to stay safe.

  1. An earthquake while driving may feel like something is wrong with your car. Take note of your surroundings. You’ll feel jolting and potentially see swaying or falling objects
  2. Slow down until you can safely pull over and stop. Avoid parking near overpasses, powerlines, bridges and buildings. Your car will provide little protection from heavy falling objects
  3. Turn off the engine and put the handbrake on. Stay in your car until the shaking stops
  4. If a power line falls on your vehicle, remain inside until a trained person can remove it

After the shaking stops, turn on the radio and heed any warnings or directions from officials. It’s probably best to stay put, depending on the level of damage around you. Keep emergency response routes clear and be aware of potential hazards, such as downed power lines, falling debris and collapsing infrastructure.

The exception would be if you’re in a tsunami risk area. In that case, move to higher ground on foot immediately and stay there until directed otherwise by authorities.

Last but not least, don’t clog phone lines with unnecessary calls. The best way to let family and friends know you’re okay is via text messaging, email or social media. Data-based services are less likely to experience major interruptions.

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