Earthquake & tsunami

Katmandu Earthquake
Nepal April 2015

While Victoria is a great place to live, we are susceptible to major earthquakes that could strike at any time. Do you know what to do before, during and after an earthquake? Are you ready to "Drop, Cover and Hold On?" The instructions below outline response procedures for what to do when the shaking starts and after it stops. Tsunamis can occur after a large earthquake, and parts of Victoria and Saanich may be affected. To learn more about how to be prepared for earthquakes and tsunamis, check out the links under Resources.

When the shaking starts

  • If you are inside, immediately drop, cover & hold on under a table or desk, or against an inside wall (not in a doorway) until the shaking stops.
  • If you are outside, go to an open area – stay away from buildings, power lines, trees or other potential hazards. Drop, cover and (if possible) hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If you are in a car, stop the vehicle and stay where you are – avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines that could collapse. Leave your seatbelt fastened and protect your head and neck from car windows.

What's next (after the shaking stops)

  • Strong aftershocks can continue for some time after the initial earthquake. Prepare to drop, cover and hold on again at any time.
  • Once several minutes have passed without aftershocks check yourself for injuries and cautiously assess your surroundings.
  • If there is damage to your building (e.g. fallen ceiling tiles, broken lights or glass, wall or foundation cracking), carefully evacuate and report to the building assembly site. Wait for instructions.
  • Assist others who need help or report locations of people requiring assistance to a building or floor emergency coordinator. If help is required, contact Campus Security at 250-721-7599 or by sending a runner.
  • Do NOT use telephones except to report emergencies. Minimize your use of cell phones to prevent overloading the system.
  • Do NOT pull the fire alarm unless there is a fire.
  • UVic is not in a tsunami hazard zone but if you are in a part of the region that is susceptible, move to higher ground.
Great BC ShakeOut drill at UVic, 2013

Drop, cover and hold on! Some footage from the Great BC ShakeOut, the province's largest earthquake drill. Here's what a drill looks like in a lecture hall. View on YouTube.

Drop, Cover and Hold On!

This is a short UVic-created video created demonstrates how to respond during an earthquake in a campus setting. Whether you're in a classroom, office, cafeteria or outside make sure you Drop, Cover and Hold On when the shaking starts. View on YouTube.