An earthquake is an unforeseeable geological phenomenon caused by the very slow but continuous movement of tectonic plates. Roughly 3 500 earthquakes, most of them of low intensity, occur every year in Canada.
A low-intensity earthquake lasts only several seconds and does not cause damage.
A major trembler can last several minutes. The main shocks are usually followed by aftershocks of varying intensity. An earthquake can cause:
- the liquefaction of water-saturated sandy soil;
- power failures.
There are certain steps you can take to reduce hazards during an earthquake:
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Several regions of Québec are subject to earthquakes, for example because of subsurface weaknesses. Find out about earthquake risks in your area.
To ensure your safety, that of your family and your property:
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- establish a family safety plan;
- prepare an emergency kit;
- pinpoint safe areas in which to take shelter;
- solidly anchor shelves, bookcases and objects hung on the wall;
- avoid placing heavy objects on top of a shelf or above a bed headboard;
- place beds and chairs far from windows and the fireplace;
- store chemicals or harmful products (solvents, insecticides, paint, gasoline, etc.) far from heat sources and in a place where they do not risk spilling;
- put non-slip mats under the television, computer and small household appliances.
In the event of an earthquake, follow prevention tips and safety rules
If you are outdoors when an earthquake occurs:
- move away from buildings, electrical wires and busy areas;
- avoid road travel;
- do not stop your vehicle on a bridge, an elevated lane, under a viaduct or in a tunnel;
- park your car on the edge of the road in an open area and stay inside the vehicle until the end of the tremors;
- abide by the driver’s instructions if you are using public transport.
If you are indoors when an earthquake occurs:
- stay inside the building where you are, provided that it seems safe;
- take shelter under a solid piece of furniture. If you cannot do so, crouch down along an interior wall and use your arms to protect your head and neck;
- stay far away from windows, mirrors, glass partitions, bookshelves, the fireplace and lighting fixtures;
- never use an elevator or, if you are in an elevator, press all of the buttons to get out of it as quickly as possible;
- avoid to move and stay under cover until the end of the tremors.
Moreover, observe prevention tips and safety rules if the earthquake causes a power failure or flooding.
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Do as instructed by the authorities
When the situation demands it, the authorities disseminate instructions. To ensure your safety and that of your family, follow the instructions. Consult the media in your area to obtain a status report and find about the procedures to be followed.
After an earthquake, make your environment more secure
If the earthquake has damaged your home, you must inform:
- your insurer, to have the damage recorded;
- the financial institution that granted you a mortgage loan, to declare the damage.
After an earthquake, inspect the premises for damage and make sure that your home is safe.
- check the roof and structure of your house for cracks, doors that no longer close, and so on, and leave the home in case of doubt;
- pay attention to water and gas leaks and shut off the water and gas supply if necessary;
- make sure that water, food and medications are fit for consumption;
- lay in a supply of drinking water if running water is still available;
- avoid using the elevator;
- clean the house to avoid injuries from debris and dust inhalation;
- pick up debris on your lot;
- avoid touching fallen power lines as they may be alive.
Increase the security of your home to keep away looters and inquisitive individuals if extensive work must be carried out before you can return to the premises:
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- barricade the windows;
- lock the doors;
- cover damaged areas.
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