Emergency Preparedness

Confident young woman

If a major emergency occurs, officials say you need be prepared to be self-sufficient for 72 hours, even in residence. That may sound extreme, but if you’re ready, you’ll be able to respond confidently and safely during an emergency situation.

We recommend all residents sign up for UBC Alert—a campus-wide system that sends a text message to your cellphone in an emergency situation.

Leak or Flood

  • Inform the Front Desk immediately and let them know the source of the water leak: roof, window, pipe, washroom, etc.
  • Do not walk through water.
  • Avoid wet wires, electrical equipment and power out­lets.
  • Do not attempt to use moisture-dam­aged equipment.


  • Douse small fires with fire extinguishers, located in residence common areas.
  • For a spreading blaze, pull the fire alarm, leave the building by the nearest exit and call 9-1-1.
  • Avoid flames, smoke and fumes by staying low to the ground.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Walk, don’t run, and use handrails as you descend stairs.
  • If you cannot safely get downstairs, go to the nearest safe area and wait for a firefighter.

Severe Weather

  • Expect power outages and phone disruptions, even for your mobile phone.
  • Avoid overhead hazards, such as tree branches and power lines.
  • Avoid glass and debris on sidewalks and roads.

Power Outage

  • Keep flashlights and other emergency sup­plies nearby.
  • Do not attempt to use computers, TVs, ste­reos or other electrical equipment.
  • Avoid moving around in the dark unless you have a flashlight.
  • Do not attempt to examine, repair or open electrical equipment.
  • Keep the fridge closed in a blackout, to avoid having the contents get warm and spoil.


  • Don’t allow someone without a key to follow you into your building.
  • If an intruder appears angry or threatening, keep a safe distance away. Listen to what he or she says. Do not argue or raise your voice. Try to calm him or her down.
  • Call 9-1-1 and inform residence staff immediately. Avoid remaining alone with an intruder.
  • If an intruder leaves a parcel, envelope or suspicious item behind, do not touch it. Tell a staff member immediately.


During an earthquake:

  • Drop to the floor, cover your head and hold onto something solid under a table or desk, between rows of seats or against an inside wall.
  • Wait for the shaking to stop and count to 60, to allow time for debris to fall, before moving.
  • If you’re outside, stay outside. If you’re inside, stay inside, unless there is a fire or the building is in danger of collapsing.
  • If you’re in a moving vehicle, stop in a clear area, away from falling debris, and stay inside the vehicle.

After an earthquake:

  • Apply first aid as required.
  • Do not make phone calls unless they are lifesaving, as networks will be overwhelmed.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for emergency updates.
  • Avoid entering damaged buildings.
  • Expect aftershocks and power outages.

Emergency Kits

Emergency kit

Everyone who lives in residence should have an emergency kit. They are available to purchase at Place Vanier, Totem Park, and Walter Gage. Or use these tips to pack your own:

  • Make it easy to carry and easy to grab quickly. A backpack or light gym bag are ideal.
  • Include two litres of water per person, per day, for 72 hours.
  • Pack food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods. Remember to replace food and water once a year.
  • Pack a manual can opener, flashlight and batteries, battery-powered or wind-up radio, extra batteries, spare keys, and a first aid kit.
  • Include special-needs items, if necessary, such as prescription medications, toiletries, equipment for people with disabil­ities, glasses or contact lenses.
  • Don’t forget cash, especially smaller bills and coins, for use in pay phones or vending machines.
  • Make sure you have contact information handy for people you will need to get in touch with, like relatives in and out of town.

Boil Water Advisory

    • Boil all tap water used for drinking, brushing teeth, pre­paring food, beverages, ice cubes, and wash­ing fruits and vegetables.
    • Tap water should be boiled for one minute. Then let it cool and pour it into a clean container.

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