Graphic of a house falling into a crack due to an earthquake


Earthquakes can be a violent and sudden emergency that can impact people, buildings and road safety.  An earthquake occurs when energy is released underground through the shifting and breaking of rocks underneath the surface. This can cause rapid and sudden shaking of the earth which last for seconds or several minutes.  

Aftershocks are small earthquakes that happen hours, days or weeks after an earthquake. This can further damage buildings, roads and bridges weakened by the earthquake.

If you are indoors:

  • Drop, cover and hold - go under a sturdy piece of furniture, cover your head and hold on
  • If there is nothing to duck under, crouch in a corner of the room
  • Stay away from windows - shattered glass can hurt you
  • Remain inside until the shaking stops
  • If you must leave, use stairs instead of an elevator in case of aftershocks, power outages or other damage
  • Note - fire alarms and sprinkler systems often go off during an earthquake, even if there is no fire

If you are outdoors:

  • Drop to the ground in a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights
  • Stay away from objects that could fall and hurt you - remain there until the ground stops shaking
  • Look out for falling rocks and debris if you're near slopes or cliffs

 If you are in a vehicle:

  • Pull over to a safe place and stay inside
  • Listen to your radio for instructions from emergency officials
  • Don't leave your vehicle if downed power lines are across it - wait for help
  • Stay away from anything that could collapse (e.g., bridges, overpasses, underpasses, buildings)
  • If you're on a bus, stay in your seat until the bus stops - take cover in a protected place or sit in a crouched position and protect your head.


Graphic of a stick man standing in front of a question mark Earthquakes are most common in eastern Ontario, but can also happen in other parts of the Province.  

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