Thursday, April 4, 2019

Jennifer Rice speaks to Tsunami Preparedness at Wednesday session of Legislature

Next week will be Tsunami Preparedness Week in British Columbia, with residents of coastal communities checking over their own plans of action should the earth shake and the oceans rise.

Towards the planning for the week ahead, North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, in her role as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness had some advice Wednesday afternoon for the members of the Legislature to take back home with them, providing a few short comments on the need to prepare.

Emergency preparation gets put on a to-do list, but never checked off as done. That's why, each year, during Tsunami Preparedness Week, which runs April 8 to the 14th, we're asking individuals and communities to make sure they're prepared for the possibility of a tsunami. And it is possible. Many British Columbians were reminded of this fact last January. On that morning, just before 2 a.m., when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska caused a flurry of tsunami notifications to most of B.C.'s coast. In the end, the warning was rescinded with no damage reported. We were lucky. 

However, this warning showed us that many coastal British Columbians remain unprepared for the possibility of an earthquake or tsunami. So what do you do if there is a danger of a tsunami in your area? Get yourself to higher ground or a pre-identified safe area. Tsunami waves can last several hours, so stay there until you receive the all-clear message from your local government, not from armchair experts on social media or when another community gives the all clear. Different communities have different local conditions. What's safe for one is not necessarily safe for the other. So wait until your local government gives you the all clear. 

 Never go to the beach to watch the waves. A tsunami can move faster than you can run. During this week, I urge all members and British Columbians in tsunami zones to make a plan to move to higher ground and to put together an emergency kit. All the info you need is available in our tsunami preparedness guide on the PreparedBC website. Don't wait to prepare. I assure you: a tsunami won't wait for you.

You can review her presentation to the Legislature below:

As Ms. Rice noted in her remarks Prepared BC has a range of material available for communities and individual residents to call on as they put together their own Tsunami preparedness plans, which you can review here.

Know your warnings and which Tsunami Zone you live in

Living above one of the more active of fault lines along the British Columbia coast Haida Gwaii officials are already ahead of the pack when it comes to preparing their residents for any Tsunami events.

Recently they introduced the Haida Gwaii Tsunami Pole Project, which has seen utility poles across the islands painted with signs to direct residents and visitors to safe areas in the event of a Tsunami warning.

The project involved a range of partners and sourced out grants to move the project forward.

New markings on Haida Gwaii will lead residents and visitors to
safety in the event of a Tsunami warning

Barry Pages, the Chair of the North Coast Regional District made note of the program and highlighted how the project will work.

“Clear visual markings that can direct people to safe zones may save lives if our community experiences a tsunami. Once the shaking from an earthquake stops, everyone should immediately move to high ground and follow the utility poles to safe areas.”

You can learn more about the Haida Gwaii program here.

In the Prince Rupert area Emergency Preparedness information in the case of Tsunami warnings can be found through the city of Prince Rupert's website

Tsunami Preparedness week runs from April 8th to 15th

For more items of note related to earthquakes and tsunami events along the North Coast and Southeast Alaska see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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