Whitehorse lies on a combination of fault lines, or continental plate boundaries, which ultimately puts Whitehorse at a major risk for earthquakes, according to Emergency Preparedness Canada.

If the epicenter of the earthquake is very close, a loud crack may be heard as the earth shifts. If it is farther away, there may be a loud noise or rumbling, like the rushing of a train. Typically, the initial swaying is followed by the shaking, then a rolling motion that rotates up, down and sideways. It can last from seconds to minutes.

The actual movement of the ground seldom causes injuries, but rather the falling objects and debris cause most casualties.
Aftershocks frequently occur, often hours to days later, as the earth adjusts to the initial shift.


  • Keep large or heavy objects close to the floor.
  • Anchor all shelving and large items to the wall, where possible.
  • Ensure that objects like pictures and mirrors are secured to the walls.
  • Ensure all cabinets have latches that will keep the door closed during shaking.
  • Be aware of the safe spots in your department, such as the stable desks or tables, and locations away from potential falling objects.
  • Participate in annual Earthquake drills.

If you are inside during the shaking:

  • Stay inside. Do not attempt to exit. Do not pull the fire alarm, unless there is a fire.
  • Move away from windows and mirrors that may shatter, and objects that may fall, such as file cabinets, unattached shelving, bookcases, etc.
  • Crawl under a strong table, counter or desk if possible. Do not stand in a doorway if there is the possibility that the door will slam/close on you.
  • Drop to your knees and cover your head and neck with your hands.
  • Do not use the elevator.

If you are outside during the shaking:

  • Stay outside until the shaking stops
  • Move away from the building, power lines and overhanging structures.

After the shaking:

  • Expect aftershocks.
  • Check for fire, electrical and other hazards. Follow the usual procedure for fire.
  • Call Safety and Security (334-6042, speed dial 222 from your office/classroom phone or via the YC Mobile app) to inform them of any electrical problems or other building related problems.
  • If someone is discovered to be missing, the Fire Warden from that area will search all rooms, offices and bathrooms checking for people who may be trapped as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Leave doors to rooms open (unless there is a fire).
  • Assess if anyone is injured and provide medical assistance where required.
  • Check telephone lines and notify IT if there are problems. Minimize phone and cell use.
  • Do not evacuate, but check to ensure the routes are clear.
  • Assess further damage in your unit. Use caution when opening doors to rooms or cupboards, as objects may fall.
  • Notify Safety and Security (334-6042, speed dial 222 from your office/classroom phone or via the YC Mobile app) or your instructor/direct supervisor of unsafe situations for appropriate follow up.

If you are NOT at Work:

  • Ensure your family is safe.
  • Listen to any radio station for information.