Monday, April 8, 2019

Tsunami Preparation Week in British Columbia underway

Knowing what your Tsunami Zone is, makes for jus tone element
of Tsunami Preparation Week in British Columbia

For the next seven days, British Columbians in coastal communities and a few further inland will be asked to give some thought to the day when the Big One hits and to have a plan in mind for any potential Tsunami event that may arrive.

April 8 -14 is Tsunami Preparation Week in British Columbia and for the North Coast the reminders of potential danger occasionally rumble along the fault lines of the region, with a recent Alaska event just the latest indication of the need to be aware and to prepare.

Last Week, Jeniffer Rice, the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparation provided the first heads up of what is ahead for this week, speaking to the week of preparation in the Legislation.

Yesterday, Ms. Rice outlined some of the plans ahead for this week, as well as a note for home constituents that she'll be in Prince Rupert for a Tsunami related event later this week.

“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.”

This week is the opportunity to put some of the planning that has taken place to the test, both at the provincial and municipal level, as well as for personal plans for the home, business, industry or schools.

Following on the lessons of that event the City of Prince Rupert drew up some emergency plans, including a map of potential Tsunami risk in the city, which indicates that most residents of Prince Rupert won't have too much to worry about should a Tsunami be generated.

As well, the city created an emergency alert system for earthquake, tsunami and other emergency situations that will send text messages to phones pointing residents in the direction of more information in the event of any serious emergency event.

The City of Prince Rupert has provided a map of the area that is most at risk
for Tsunami events

Further background on tsunami notes for Prince Rupert can be explored here and here.

How to prepare for emergency events and what services will be available should one happen can be found here.

Provincially Prepared BC has also provided some guidance on how to prepare for emergencies.

The Emergency Preparedness website outlines the steps that will take place should officials become aware of threat of Tsunami for the province.

If a tsunami threat is identified, Emergency Management BC will activate the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS), which notifies local communities and agencies with information on alert levels for the province’s five tsunami zones. Each zone includes all islands and inlets within it. What zone are you in? Emergency response plans are implemented at the local level as required. 

Throughout the event, official tsunami emergency warnings and information will be broadcast by radio, television, telephone, text message, door-to-door contact, social media, weather radios and/or outdoor sirens. Always follow instructions from local emergency officials.

The Province also offers up a number of suggestions for preparation.

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.

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.

You can review more notes from the Province of British Columbia here.

An archive of seismic events on the North Coast and Southeast Alaska as well as other notes on earthquake and tsunami related news can be found here.

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