When the shaking stops: New campus evacuation procedures

May 5–11 is Emergency Preparedness Week across Canada. Following successful campus-wide “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drills during the Great BC ShakeOut, many students and staff have asked, “What should I do when the shaking has stopped?” Learning from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, UVic has developed new procedures and a map for campus evacuation in the event of a damaging earthquake. The procedures will be distributed to all UVic faculty and staff during Emergency Preparedness Week.

The Campus Evacuation Map identifies the safest routes to the Campus Assembly Area at the UVic playing fields, as well as temporary holding areas for those needing an initial meeting area in a safe location. “In the event of a major earthquake, we want you to get out of your building safely and move to the Campus Assembly Area for further instructions and information,” says Daphne Donaldson, manager of emergency planning. “We encourage everyone to carefully review the campus evacuation procedures so that you’ll know what to do and how to assist others when the shaking stops.”

In March 2012, a UVic delegation visited the University of Canterbury (UC) to learn directly about their response to and recovery from the 2011 and 2012 earthquakes. “A key lesson we learned from UC was the need to evacuate the campus when the safety of campus buildings may be uncertain,” says Donaldson. “After an earthquake, most people will want to leave the campus to check on their family and homes, and an evacuation needs to occur as quickly and safely as possible. We urge faculty and staff members to learn and follow the new procedures so that if an evacuation is required it will go smoothly.”

For further information visit www.uvic.ca/evacuation. And don’t forget to register your mobile phone for the UVic Emergency Alerts notification system: visit www.uvic.ca/alerts.

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Keywords: emergency, earthquake

People: Daphne Donaldson

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