Emergency Preparedness

Are you ready for an emergency? Emergencies can happen at any time without warning. The good news is there are many actions we can each take to be prepared and stay safe.

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Exacerbated by climate change, natural disasters are becoming more frequent, longer and more extreme. UBC has emergency plans, and in an emergency event the university will take steps to protect the community.

However, we all have a responsibility to be prepared and self-sufficient for at least 72 hours after an emergency event. Being prepared will make you more comfortable and safer as the community recovers and services are restored—while taking the strain off our community and first responders.

How to prepare for an emergency

Get informed

Make a plan

Taking down important phone numbers and other key information you may need in an emergency takes just a few minutes, but can make life after an emergency event much less stressful. Don’t count on your phone having all that info, as you may not be able to keep it charged.

  • Download and print a plan template or pick one up at your front desk
  • Fill it out
  • Keep it in a safe place like your emergency kit
Personal Emergency Plan Template

Download this template if you live in residence.

Household Emergency Plan Template

Download this template if you live in Acadia Park.


Make or buy an emergency kit

Everyone who lives in residence should have an emergency kit. A backpack works well to hold everything you need in one place and can also serve as a grab and go bag if you need to evacuate.

Your emergency kit should include:

  • Non perishable food for 72 hrs
  • Bottles of water (~4L per day)
  • Small first aid kit
  • Prescription medication including extra pair of glasses or contact lenses
  • Small flashlight with extra batteries
  • Charger or battery pack for your phone/laptop
  • Whistle
  • Face mask
  • Personal hygiene items (e.g., menstruation products, toiletries, etc.)
  • Important documents like your emergency plan, passport, study permit, health card, etc.
  • A bit of cash in small bills and coins, since ATMs and debit/credit terminals will be down if the power is out
  • Seasonal clothing and footwear—sturdy footwear and weather resistant jacket
Remember to replace food and water once a year!

Pro tip: Before you buy anything, check to see what you already have. Purchasing a couple items from your list each week can help to spread out the cost. The UBC Bookstore also sells emergency kits if you prefer to purchase one—don’t forget to add personal items such as medication and important documents.

How to respond to the following emergencies:


During an earthquake:

  • Drop to the floor, cover your head and hold on to 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, since cell networks can be overwhelmed.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for emergency updates.
  • Avoid entering damaged buildings.
  • Expect aftershocks and power outages.

Small fires

Douse with a fire extinguisher, which you’ll find in residence common areas.

Spreading blaze

  • Pull the fire alarm.
  • Leave the building by the nearest exit.
  • Call 911.
  • Stay low to the ground to avoid flames, smoke and fumes.
  • 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.
Leak or Flood
  • Inform the front desk staff in your residence area immediately and let them know the source of the water leak: roof, window, pipe, washroom, etc. If the leak occurs between 11 pm and 7 am, contact the Overnight Mobile Team.
  • Do not walk through water.
  • Avoid wet wires, electrical equipment and power out­lets.
  • Do not attempt to use moisture-dam­aged equipment.
Power Outage
  • Keep your flashlight and other emergency sup­plies nearby.
  • Avoid moving around in the dark unless you have a flashlight.
  • Do not attempt to use your stove, computers, TVs, ste­reos or other electrical equipment.
  • Do not attempt to examine, repair or open electrical equipment.
  • Don’t open your fridge—to make sure your food stays cold.
Boil Water Advisory

UBC’s tap water is safe and healthy to drink. However, in case of a 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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