Surprisingly, Montreal is in an active earthquake zone. Although most earthquakes are only detected by sensitive instruments, several hundred occur every year in Eastern Canada and Quebec. The possibility exists that a damaging earthquake could occur on the island of Montreal. Injuries can be prevented if people know what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
During an earthquake, most injuries occur from falling debris and household or workplace articles. You can significantly reduce your risk of injury during an earthquake by securing furniture that could fall over and by not placing heavy or dangerous objects on shelves or on the wall that could injure you if they were to fall during an earthquake.
During an earthquake
- DROP down onto your hands and knees.
- COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) under a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, only then should you get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won't fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
- HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
- Most injuries occur from falling debris while trying to evacuate.
- If an evacuation is necessary the fire alarm systems will be activated.
- Be careful and alert to falling objects or debris.
- Stay outdoors.
- Move to an open area away from trees, buildings, utility poles and signs.
- If in your vehicle, carefully pull over, keeping away from overhead objects such as trees, buildings, utility poles, signs, and overpasses.
- Stay in the vehicle until the shaking stops.
After an earthquake
- If an evacuation is necessary, the fire alarm system will be activated.
- Do not call Campus Safety and Prevention Services or 911 for information.
- Only use your phone for emergencies; to report injured or trapped people or to report signs of structural damage.
- Using your phone during the first 15-30 minutes after a significant emergency will contribute to overloading the phone system with calls and may delay emergency assistance to those that need it most.
If you hear the fire alarm
- Do not attempt to evacuate until the shaking has stopped.
- Gather your personal belongings; keys, purse, medication...
- Use the emergency stairwell.
- Be alert to falling objects and debris.
- Report injured or trapped people and/or any signs of structural damage you observe to Campus Safety and Prevention Services or Emergency Responders.
General tips after an earthquake
- If possible, change into sturdy shoes and protective clothing before helping other in debris.
- If you are inside, check the building for structural damage. If you suspect it is unsafe, leave and report the hazard to 514-848-3717.
- Do not turn on any switches or light any burners unless you are sure that there isn't a gas leak in your area.
- Do not shut any utilities unless they are damaged or leaking (natural gas leak smells like rotten eggs).
- Do not go near loose or dangling power lines.
- After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks.