Every April, Tsunami Preparedness Week reminds British Columbians of the ever-present risk of earthquake and tsunami activity in B.C.
During Tsunami Preparedness Week, April 8-14, 2019, British Columbians are encouraged to take action so they are ready when disaster strikes.
“Waiting until the earthquake or tsunami happens is waiting too long,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “We know B.C. is a seismically active zone, so now is the time for British Columbians to create emergency plans and assemble earthquake kits. High-ground hikes are happening this week in communities along our coast, which are designed to remind residents in coastal locations to evacuate to high ground and out of harm’s way.
“Just this weekend we unveiled our tsunami pole system in Haida Gwaii, where paint on BC Hydro and Telus poles marks tsunami inundation and safe zones, and I’ll be on hand for a tsunami awareness event this week in Prince Rupert. I’m so proud to see coastal communities coming together to help the public prepare for emergencies.”
It is important that British Columbians are aware of the risks on the coast. Just over one year ago, on Jan. 23, 2018, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska triggered a tsunami warning in certain areas of B.C. The Province is urging people living in coastal communities vulnerable to tsunamis to build on this experience by preparing before an emergency happens. PreparedBC developed the following guide in 2018 with helpful tips on how to get started: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/preparedbc-guides/earthquake_and_tsunami_guide_2018_web.pdf
A tsunami is a series of waves that result from a large and sudden displacement of the ocean, most often caused by a large undersea earthquake. If you are near the coast and feel the ground shake, drop, cover and hold on, then move to high ground immediately. The shaking of an earthquake is your tsunami warning.
Emergency Management BC recommendations
- Familiarize yourself with your local evacuation routes and reception centre locations. Know your risk. Check with your community to find out if your local area is vulnerable to a tsunami threat.
- If you are near the coast when an earthquake occurs, drop, cover and hold on, and then move to higher ground immediately. In areas along B.C.’s outer coast that do not have evacuation plans or maps, this means at least 20 metres of elevation.
- Once you reach high ground, stay there. Wait for the “all clear” from your local authorities to confirm the threat is over. Tsunami waves can last several hours.
- Find out how your community plans to share emergency information. Alerting methods include radio, television, telephone, text messages, door-to-door contact, social media and outdoor sirens. Always follow instructions from local authorities during an emergency.
- Know your tsunami notification zone. This will enable you to determine whether or not you are located in an area that is under alert.
- Develop a household emergency plan and assemble an emergency kit with supplies that will last for at least three days to a week or two. A plan and emergency supplies will assist you and your loved ones in surviving and recovering from earthquakes, tsunamis and other hazards.
Emergency Management BC issues emergency alerts on behalf of the Province and relies on a number of different alerting systems in the event of a tsunami, including:
- the Provincial Emergency Notification System, which alerts local governments, emergency response officials and media;
- the Emergency Info BC social media channels; and
- Alert Ready, a national system that currently sends alerts through television, radio networks and wireless devices.
PreparedBC is British Columbia's hub for disaster readiness information.
For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, follow on Twitter at @PreparedBC or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC
PreparedBC Earthquake and Tsunami Guide: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/embc/preparedbc/preparedbc-guides/earthquake_and_tsunami_guide_2018_web.pdf
PreparedBC high-ground hike information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content?id=FD557A75B7404C599A20D40C42C6FBFB
For information during active provincial emergencies, follow on Twitter at @EmergencyInfoBC or visit: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca