What to EXPECT during an earthquake
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Small or moderate earthquakes
- These can last only a few seconds and represent no emergency risk.
- Ceiling lights may move and some minor rattling of objects may occur in your home.
- You may feel a slight quiver under your feet if you are outside.
- If you are close to its source, you may hear a loud bang followed by shaking.
- These can last up to several minutes and constitute a natural disaster if its epicentre is near a densely populated area, or its magnitude sufficiently large for the region.
- The ground or floor will move, perhaps violently.
- Whether far away or close to the source, you will probably feel shaking followed by a rolling motion, much like being at sea.
- If you are far away from the source, you might see swaying buildings or hear a roaring sound.
- You may feel dizzy and be unable to walk during the earthquake.
- If you live in a high rise or a multi-storey building, you may experience more sway and less shaking than in a smaller, single-storey building. Lower floors will shake rapidly, much like residential homes. On upper floors, movement will be slower but the building will move farther from side to side.
- Furnishings and unsecured objects could fall over or slide across the floor.
- Unsecured light fixtures and ceiling panels may fall.
- Windows may break.
- Fire alarms and sprinkler systems may be activated.
- Lights and power may go off.
What to do:
NOTE: The information above and on the linked pages (Before an earthquake, During an earthquake, After an earthquake) are reproduction copies of official work published by the Government of Canada and are not produced in affiliation with or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.