B.C. coastal communities take part in Tsunami Preparedness Week
April 10, 2023
By Government of B.C.
Coastal communities in B.C. are at risk of tsunamis and the province is reminding people about the importance of getting prepared as part of Tsunami Preparedness Week from April 9-15, 2023.
“We know it’s scary to think about emergencies like tsunamis, but by getting prepared and learning about the tsunami risk in your community now, you’ll be safer in the event of a tsunami,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “Tsunami Preparedness Week is the perfect time to put together an emergency kit for your family and practise evacuating to a tsunami-safe location in your community.”
Some coastal communities are hosting High Ground Hikes during Tsunami Preparedness Week to raise awareness about B.C.’s tsunami risk. During these events people will practise reaching their tsunami-safe location. Knowing where high ground is and how to get there is an important part of tsunami preparedness. Some people may not need to travel far to reach safety.
This year, High Ground Hikes will be held in the following communities:
- Gold River;
- Heiltsuk Nation (Bella Bella);
- Mount Waddington Regional District – Quatsino;
- Old Massett;
- Pacheedaht First Nation;
- Piers Island (during Emergency Preparedness Week in May);
- Port Hardy;
- Port Moody;
- Prince Rupert;
- Toquaht Nation;
- Ucluelet; and
“It’s so important that people on the coast are ready and know what to do when a tsunami occurs. Many communities – including some here in the north Island – are hosting a High Ground Hike, which is great way to practise your evacuation plan,” said Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island. “I also encourage everyone in risk areas to learn about local public alerting and put together an emergency grab-and-go bag for your family.”
In the event of a tsunami, which is a giant wave caused by earthquakes beneath the ocean, landslides or volcanic eruptions, people in an affected area will receive a tsunami alert that will be broadcast across television, radio and compatible mobile devices through B.C.’s emergency-alert system.
- The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness issues emergency alerts on behalf of the province and relies on several alerting systems in the event of a tsunami.
- There are local government emergency alerts, coastal siren systems, door-to-door notifications, social media and the National Public Alerting System, publicly branded as Alert Ready.
- In 2022, the province, in partnership with the Capital Regional District, launched the Capital Region Tsunami Information Portal, which shows people if they are living or working in or visiting a tsunami hazard zone.
- In January 2023, Natural Resources Canada installed the 100th Early Earthquake Warning (EEW) sensor in B.C., and the province announced in January 2023 that as many as 50 more sensors are being installed.
- EEW systems rapidly detect an earthquake and provide seconds of notice before strong shaking begins.
- The system will be operational by spring 2024.
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