Shelter-in-place radio

Shelter-in-Place Tips for After an Earthquake

After an earthquake, having a plan of action is important for your continued survival and comfort. Recently, we shared some advice about evacuating your home after an earthquake, and today we want to share some tips about sheltering in place.

First off, you’ll want to connect with your local authorities, either through your radio or online. In the worst case scenario you don’t have a radio or an internet connection. And in this case, you’ll want to connect with your neighbours as soon as possible, to see if they’ve got a radio or WiFi connection, or have received word from authorities in another way.

If you’ve received a shelter-in-place order, you’re probably in a situation that will only last a few hours, such as a minor earthquake that hasn’t done much damage. That or it is unsafe to evacuate.

Here is a list of steps to shelter-in-place at home:

  • Bring your family (and pets) inside without risking your own safety.
  • Close and lock any openings to the outside. Eg. windows, doors, fireplace dampers, vents.
  • Shut down all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Seal any cracks around exterior openings with plastic and duct tape. Then close all drapes, shutters, curtains or shades. You’ll want to stay away from the windows after this.
  • Move everyone to the safest room in the house. This will be a room that has no (or few) windows, and preferably is above ground level. Collect any emergency supplies you have and bring them with you. This includes a hard-wired landline phone if you have one.
  • If you have an elevator, avoid using it if at all possible. (Only use it if absolutely necessary.)
  • Once you’re in the safe room, place a damp towel along the bottom of the door.
  • Check in regularly with emergency radio stations, TV broadcasts and social media. Follow the directions of your local authorities and be prepared to evacuate if directed.

If you’re at work when an emergency occurs and you’re advised to shelter in place, much of the same instructions apply. You’ll want to gather everyone indoors and shut and seal off openings in any way you can. You’ll want to find the safest room, above-ground and furthest from windows, then monitor the media for further directions. While you’re waiting, it’s also a good idea to collect everyone’s names and their emergency contact information.

If you’re caught in your vehicle, assess how close to home you are. If you are basically home or have just left work, get inside quickly and shelter-in-place there. Otherwise, pull over and turn on your hazards as quickly as you’re able. You’ll want to seal yourself off as best you can, by shutting doors, windows, vents and even taping over them if you have the supplies. Tune into the radio immediately to listen for updates.

No matter where you are when authorities direct you to shelter-in-place, staying calm is key. So think about bright outcomes while you go through your safety procedures and try to just take one step at a time towards getting out of the situation safely.

For further details, please visit the City of Vancouver’s public safety webpages.

 -Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for


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