An earthquake occurs when there is a sudden release of energy within the earth’s crust. Earthquakes strike suddenly, violently, and without warning at any time. Knowing what to do during an earthquake can help protect you and your property.

What to know

Squamish rests within the shadow of active tectonic processes off the west coast of Vancouver Island. To learn more about what to expect and what to do during and after an earthquake, please visit PreparedBC or download PreparedBC's earthquake and tsunami smart manual here.

BCsimp NBCC2016


 Local Vulnerabilities

  • All development on flood plain land is vulnerable to liquefaction in the event of a shallow-focus seismic event.
  • Substantial commuter population risks being isolated from home and family if earthquake closes Highway 99 on either side of the district.
  • Older building stock are not earthquake resistant without updated strengthening work.
  • There are limited reception centre options for evacuated people, including potentially high numbers of tourists/visitors.

 Remember safe places in an earthquake:

  • If you are inside a building, move no more than a few steps, drop, cover and hold. Stay indoors - you do not have to evacuate a building straight away unless it is showing obvious signs of distress.
  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move no more than a few steps away from buildings, trees, street lights, and power lines, then drop, cover and hold.
  • If you are on a sidewalk in a busy urban environment, either get into an entryway or foyer of a building and drop, cover and hold, or move into a clear wide street, but be careful of traffic and falling objects, then drop, cover and hold.
  • If you are at the beach or near the coast, drop, cover and hold then move to higher ground immediately in case a tsunami follows the quake (note Squamish has a low hazard risk for tsunamis).
  • If you are driving, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops. Once the shaking stops, proceed with caution and avoid bridges or ramps that might have been damaged.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling debris or landslides.


Squamish is at a low risk of being affected by a Tsunami with the impact area being about the same as that for climate change-induced sea level rise and resulting higher storm surges (primarily the downtown region).

Due to the nature of this emergency, regardless of the risk, anyone in low lying areas of Squamish should head to higher ground immediately (or as soon as it is safe to do so) in the aftermath of a large earthquake.

Please visit the Government of British Columbia's website to learn more on what happens in the event of a tsunami and what you can do to help stay safe in this situation.

Note: Know Your Zone!

B.C. receives notification of a potential distant tsunami from the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center and relays the potential risks to relevant zones along the coast. Our coastal communities in B.C. have been divided up into five zones with Squamish being in Zone E.

We use cookies to help improve our website for you.