Personal Emergency Preparedness

Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to Vancouver (like what to do in the case of an earthquake, storm surge, and technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills and power failures) can help you better prepare.


UBC ShakeOut: Annual Event

What is the UBC ShakeOut drill?
How can I participate in UBC ShakeOut?

UBC Alert: Be Notified During a UBC Emergency

What does UBC Alert do?
How do I register for UBC Alert?

Emergency Preparedness Kit

What should be in an emergency kit?

Annual Emergency Exercise

What is the annual emergency exercise?

UBC ShakeOut: Annual Earthquake Preparedness Drill

What is the UBC ShakeOut drill?

ShakeOut BC is a province-wide earthquake drill to help you prepare for seismic activity. This year it will take place on October 17 at 10:17 a.m.

British Columbia is located in one of the most seismically active regions in the world with more than 1,200 earthquakes recorded each year. While most are too small to be felt, the risk of a major one causing significant damage is real.

UBC is always working to prepare our campus for emergency events such as earthquakes. We are improving our buildings and infrastructure to better withstand a major event and helping the campus community know what to do when the earth starts moving.

Learn more about earthquake preparedness here.
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How can I participate in UBC ShakeOut?

To help the campus community prepare for an earthquake, UBC participates in the province-wide ShakeOut BC earthquake preparedness exercise.

Each year in October, practice DROPCOVER, and HOLD ON, the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

ShakeOut BC is your opportunity to practice how to protect yourself during earthquakes.

On October 17 you can also head to the University Commons between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m and feel the effects of an earthquake for yourself by riding the Quake Cottage, an earthquake simulator.

Head to the AMS Nest at 12:30 p.m. for a screening of disaster movie San Andreas too, for some (vastly exaggerated!) examples of the effects of seismic activity.

Learn more about ShakeOut BC here
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UBC Alert: Be Notified During a UBC Emergency

What does UBC Alert do?

UBC ALERT is an important part of maintaining safety and security during an emergency. Make sure we have your number.

In the event of an emergency on campus, UBC ALERT sends text messages to your cell phone coordinated with messages on UBC`s main website (, Twitter (@ubcnews), and digital signs across campus.
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How do I register for UBC Alert?

Click on the appropriate link below to register your cell phone number with UBC Alert. Cell phone numbers collected are used solely for emergency purposes and are stored in accordance with university privacy standards.


  1. Log into the UBC Student Service Centre.
  2. Add your cell phone number to “Your Details”

Staff and Faculty

  1. Log on to
  2. Update your contact information on the Faculty and Staff Self Service section.
  • Update your cell phone number in order to receive UBC Alerts with the “Phone Numbers” link under my Personal Info.
  • Update your emergency contact information (contact for parent, spouse, friend who can be reached in case you are ill or injured on campus) under “Emergency Contacts”.

If you encounter problems updating your contact numbers in Self Service, please contact the help desk at

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Emergency Preparedness Kit

What should be in an emergency kit?

View here

Things to consider having in your emergency kit at work or at home are:

  • First aid kit and medications
  • Four litres of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • At least 72 hours supply of non-perishable food and manual can opener for cans
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Battery-powered or hand crank flashlight with extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help.
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Local maps (identify a family meeting place) and some cash in small bills
  • Garbage bags, moist towelettes and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Seasonal clothing and footwear

Learn more from the BC Provincial government about how to build an emergency supply kit.
Emergency kits are available for purchase at the UBC Bookstore.

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Annual Emergency Exercise

What is the annual emergency exercise?

UBC has conducted annual emergency exercises since 1992. The exercises are used to test and improve the effectiveness of UBC’s emergency response plans and procedures.

These exercises bring together first responder agencies (i.e., police, fire department and ambulance), other external agencies and UBC departments.

Participants respond to a variety of simulated site emergencies, including earthquakes, hazardous material spills, fires, airplane crashes and structural collapses.

The UBC Disaster Response Plan is based on the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS), and uses an “all hazards” approach to emergency response.

The exercises are developed, arranged and administered by Safety & Risk Services. This process has been coordinated by the Emergency Planning Steering Committee (EPSC) Exercise Design subcommittee since 1997. The committee includes the RCMP, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, BC Ambulance Service, Safety & Risk Services and other relevant UBC departments.

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