Natural Disaster

  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Severe Lightening Storm
  • Excessive Heat
  • Safe Drinking Water
  • Power Outages
  • Utility Shut Off – Water / Electricity / Gas



Earthquakes can strike without warning, so you must be prepared to begin appropriate protective action
immediately. Since structural damage caused by the earthquake may mean that communication systems will stop
working, be prepared to take safety measures.

What to expect in the event of a major earthquake:

• During the actual earthquake, people will experience shaking of buildings and possibly extremely loud noises.
• The motion may be severe – if you are standing, you may be thrown to the ground.
• Doors may violently swing back and forth.
• Door frames may bend, jamming the doors closed.
• Pieces of ceiling and light fixtures may drop to the floor.
• Shattered glass from broken windows may fly across the room.
• There may be flooding from burst water pipes/mains.
• Free standing furniture such as bookcases, filing cabinets, may fall to the floor.
• There may be fires from broken natural gas lines, electrical short circuits or other causes.
• There may be structural and/or non-structural damage to buildings.
• There may be injuries sustained by clients, personnel, volunteers, and visitors.
• There may be power outages and other utility failures.
• Chemical spills may also be a possibility.

Earthquake Kit Locations

Community Services In reception, marked cabinet across from kitchenette sink.
The Club Under reception desk next to the back entrance.
Foundry Hallway storage next to the group rooms

If you are indoors

• Stay inside.
• Do not attempt to exit the building.
• Stay away from windows, bookcases, filing cabinets, and other heavy objects that could fall.
• Drop, cover, and hold – if possible, take cover immediately under desks, tables, or other heavy furniture.
• Turn away from windows.
• If heavy furniture is not available, take cover in narrow halls or against weight bearing walls.
• If you are in an area where there is no cover available, drop to your knees with you back to the wall and cover
your head and neck with your hands to protect yourself

If you are in a moving vehicle

• Stop the car and stay still.
• Avoid stopping near buildings, large trees or utility wires.
• Stay in the vehicle until the shaking has stopped.

If you are in a wheelchair

• Stay in the wheelchair.
• Move to cover is possible.
• Lock your wheels.
• Protect your neck and head with your arms.

Once the shaking has stopped

• Remain in a secure area until the shaking has stopped.
• Wait 60 seconds after the shaking has stopped before moving from the secure area.
• Assess your surroundings.
• Be prepared for aftershocks.


• Assess the damage to your designated area and inform a member of the Management Team.
• Use caution when opening doors to cupboards and rooms as objects may have shifted and could fall.
• Salvage essential supplies, equipment and records if you can do so safely.
• Post signs indicating dangerous areas and report these to the Management Team.
The Executive Director and/or Management team representatives will activate the agency communication process
to notify personnel, Board members, and Funders of the status of the building(s), personnel and services




Check for injuries:

• Assess if anyone is injured and provide medical assistance to the best of your ability.
• Call other staff members for assistance is required.
• Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger or further injury.
• Call 911 for help

Check for people who may be trapped:

• Inspect offices.
• Leave doors to offices open.

Calm clients, personnel, and/or volunteers:

• Remain calm, reassuring clients by speaking and giving instructions in a firm, calm voice.
• Keep clients and visitors away from windows, exterior walls and objects which could fall.


• Prepare clients and visitors to evacuate. Follow the MRPMCS Evacuation Procedures.
• Evacuate the building when advised by the Executive Director or designate.
• Check evacuation route(s) for damage and debris in the event that evacuation is required.
• Expect to clear debris upon exiting.


• Check for fires and extinguish them, or call for help.
• Inspect all areas for hazards, i.e., chemical hazards, gas leaks, and/or broken utility lines.
• If you smell gas, open windows and doors. Turn off the main gas valve.
• Avoid all obvious hazards;
Do not touch fallen or damaged electrical wires.
Do not smoke or allow open flames (i.e., lighters, matches, burners)


• Check the operating status of all telephones and replace all receivers back on their bases.
• Resist the urge to make phone calls unless they are completely necessary.
• An overloaded telephone system becomes worthless in a disaster.


• Conserve water – use water supplies plus water from water heaters, toilet taks, and melted ice.
Do not flush the toilets.
Do not consume or distribute food or water unless you are certain it is free from contamination


Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural disasters, except fire. Although floods can be slow or
fast rising, they generally develop over a period of days. Therefore, advance warning is usually available. The
seasons during which threat of flooding is highest are spring and fall.
The best protection during a flood is to leave the area and find shelter on higher ground.


• Contaminated drinking water: Use bottled water or bring water to a rolling boil for 10 minutes and add two drops
of non-perfumed chlorine bleach to one litre of contaminated water. Stir and wait 30 minutes before drinking.
• Building full of water: Drain water in stages, about one third of the volume of water per day. (Draining the water
too quickly could cause structural damage).
• Watch out for mold: Mold is a health hazard. If mold is present, wear a facemask and disposable gloves.
Anything that stays wet long enough will grow mold. Dry everything as quickly as possible to avoid further health
• Dispose of any food that may have come in contact with flood water

If a flood is likely in your area

• Listen to the radio or television for information.
• Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher
• Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to suddenly flood.

If you must prepare to evacuate

• Secure the building. Move essential items to higher ground.
• Turn of utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not
touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Stand on a dry board and shut off the power with a
dry wooden stick.
• Follow the EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION TREE procedure to contact MRPMCS personnel for evacuation
instructions and alternate accommodations.

If you have to leave the building

• Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water,
walk where the water is not moving if possible. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
• Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the vehicle and move to higher
ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

After flood guidelines

• Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
• Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically
charged from underground or downed power lines.
• Avoid all moving water.
• Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the
weight of a vehicle.
• Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
• Return home only when authorities have indicated that it is safe to do so.
• Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
• Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
• Clean and disinfect everything that may have gotten wet. Mud left from flood water can contain sewage and

Driving Flood Facts

• Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger vehicles causing loss of control and possible stalling.
• A foot of water will float many vehicles.
• Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles and pick-ups.

Severe Lightening Storm

Despite their often small size, all lightening storms are dangerous. Lightening injures more people each year than
tornadoes, although most lightening victims do survive. Person’s struck by lightening often report a variety of longterm debilitating symptoms including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness,
irritability, fatigue, and depression. Lightening is very unpredictable, which increases the risk to individuals and

If you are in a building

• Stay inside.
• Stay away from windows, doors, fireplaces, stoves, sinks, and other electrical charge conductors.
• Unplug computers, TVs, radios, toasters and other electrical appliances. Do not use the phone or other
electrical equipment.

If you are outside

• Seek shelter.
• If you are caught in the open, crouch down with your heels close together and your head down.
DO NOT lie flat – minimize your contact with the ground to reduce your risk of being electrocuted by a ground
• Keep away from telephone and power lines, fences, trees, and hilltops.
• Get off bikes and motorcycles.

If you are in a car

• Stop the car and stay inside.
DO NOT stop near trees or power lines

Excessive Heat




Safe Drinking Water


Loss of safe drinking water can be deadly. Most people, with a few exceptions, will start feeling the effects if they
go without water for more than 36 hours. Dehydration occurs much quicker than starvation. Our bodies can
tolerate the loss of food much better. With an ample water supply, starvation is delayed many days, even weeks.
Remember: Shutting off the water at the main valve will trap the water that is in the hot water heater and toilet
tank, Not shutting the water off may allow it to flow out of these appliances and back into the main lines.

Getting the water out of your water heater:
• Use extreme caution. Let the water cool.
• Turn off the cold water supply to the tank.
• Turn off the gas or electric heater for the tank.
• Open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
DO NOT turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.
If the purity of your water source is questionable, use the following methods to make the water safe to drink:
• The best thing is to use bottled water from emergency supplies.
• If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease
causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through coffee filter, cheesecloth, or a paper
towel and allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for 10 minutes, let it cool, and
store it in a clean container with covers.
• If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect is using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all types of
disease causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to
settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) or regular, unscented, liquid
household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store
disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
DO NOT store any plastic water containers directly on concrete. The concrete will leech chemicals into the water,
contaminating it and also degrading the plastic bottle, causing failure.

Other sources of water:

• Toilet water storage tank. Note: Use the water from the storage tank – not the toilet bowl. Do not drink if you use
colouring or chemicals in the water.
• Melted ice cubes.
• Water packed canned goods (even syrups are mostly water).
• Water trapped in home piping. The water can be removed by locating and shutting off the main valve. Then open
the faucet at the highest point of the building. Then when you open the faucet at the lowest point, gravity will force
the water from the pipes.
DO NOT use water from the pipers if you hear reports of or suspect broken water or sewer lines.

Remember: Shutting off the water at the main valve will trap the water that is in the hot water heater and toilet
tank, Not shutting the water off may allow it to flow out of these appliances and back into the main lines.
Getting the water out of your water heater:
• Use extreme caution. Let the water cool.
• Turn off the cold water supply to the tank.
• Turn off the gas or electric heater for the tank.
• Open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
DO NOT turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

Power Outages


All personnel should shut off computers, office equipment and tools. This will prevent injuries and damage from
unexpected equipment start-ups, power surges to the equipment and possible fires.
Leave one light switch on, this will signal the return of power.
Call BC hydro at 1-888-769-3766 to notify them of the outage.

Utility Shut Off


Turn off the water at the water shut off valve:

• If you hear reports or suspect that water or sewer lines have been broken or damaged.
• If you hear reports or suspect that the water supply has been contaminated.
• If these is an extended power outage and the temperature outside is at or near freezing. Turn off the water and


• Locate the main water service pipe into the building.
• You will see a gate valve on the pipe. If you know you have leaks or the water has been contaminated, you can
shut off all water to the building with this valve.
• Water shutoff at street level is NOT recommended due to difficulty.

To drain the pipes:
• Shut off the main water valve.
• Open the faucet at the highest point of the building.
• Open the faucet at the lowest point of the building.


Shut off the main circuit breaker or fuse at the electrical panel.
• If your building has flooded or a flood is imminent.
• If you smell, see or suspect an electrical fire.

WARNING: If the area around the fuse or circuit breaker is wet, stand on a dry board and shut off the
power with a dry wooden stick.

• Locate the electrical panel for the building. Your building may be equipped with either fuses or circuit breakers.
• If your building has fuses, you will find a knife switch handle or pullout fuse that should be marked “MAIN”.
Remove all the small fuses or turnoff all the small breakers first, and then shut off the “MAIN” switch.
• If your building has a circuit breaker, you may need to open the metal door of the breaker box to reveal the circuit
breakers (never remove the metal cover). The main circuit breaker should be clearly marked showing on and off
• If your building has any sub-panels adjacent to the main fuse or breaker panel in other parts of the building, in an
emergency be safe and shut them off too. Shorts can sometimes develop that cause a circuit to bypass the
breaker or fuse


• Call 911.
• Open all the windows and leave the building following evacuation procedures.
• Do not turn on or off any light or do anything that may ignite a fire from fumes.
• Call Fortis Gas at 1-800-663-9911