How to protect yourself during an earthquake

Last updated September 24, 2022
Reading time: 2 min

How should you protect yourself if there’s an earthquake in Montréal? Follow these instructions to react quickly if disaster strikes.

When you feel the first tremor, it’s impossible to know how long an earthquake is going to last or how severe it will be. To protect yourself, you need to act quickly. Follow these guidelines.

Indoors

  • Take shelter beneath a heavy piece of furniture such as a table, a desk, a bed, or any solid piece of furniture. If possible, move to the middle of the room, away from the windows.
  • Put your arms over your head and neck to protect yourself from falling objects.
  • Hold on to the object under which you are sheltering to make sure you stay covered until the tremors stop.
  • If there is no solid piece of furniture nearby, or you are in a hallway, take a crouching position near an inside wall.

Do not try to go somewhere else or go outside while there are tremors. Earthquakes are unpredictable. At times, they may be so violent that you will be unable to go anywhere, even by crawling.

Outdoors

  • Go to a clear space, away from buildings.
  • If you are in a busy public area, take shelter in a safe place.
  • Move away from high-voltage lines, trees, signs, vehicles, and anything else that could fall and injure you.

More advice

Go to the government of Québec and Great ShakeOut Web sites for more information about what to do during an earthquake.

What to do afterwards

Careful! An earthquake is usually followed by aftershocks (more tremors). Be ready.

  • Stay calm and help others if you can.
  • Listen to the radio or watch television to hear what emergency authorities tell you to do. Follow their instructions.
  • To keep lines free for emergency help, avoid using your phone unless you are calling 911 to report an emergency.
  • Check your home for structural damage and other hazards. If it is unsafe, leave and do not go back inside.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when clearing debris.
  • Immediately clean up any spilled medicines, bleach, or flammable liquids such as gasoline.
  • Before lighting a match or turning on a light, make sure there is no gas leak and that no flammable liquid has been spilled.
  • If you have to leave your home, take your emergency kit and other essential items with you.