Be tsunami-smart

  • May. 9, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Submitted article–As part of Emergency Preparedness Week (May 1-7), the province wants to remind British Columbians who live in tsunami risk zones what to do in the event of an immediate threat. Move to higher ground. . If you feel intense shaking from a near-shore earthquake (strong enough to make standing difficult), move immediately to higher ground (greater than 10 metres or 30 feet above the tide line). . Some communities have pre-identified safe areas that you should be aware of. . Avoid travelling by vehicle if possible. Use footpaths if you can. They are often the shortest and safest routes to higher ground. Follow the instructions of emergency officials. In the first 24 hours, use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. Do not go to the beach to watch. Within very short distances, the effects of a tsunami may vary considerably with dramatic differences in wave height and impact. Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Property. . Know where you and your family will evacuate to in the event of a tsunami. . Know how you will get to your pre-determined safe area. . Maintain a family emergency kit in a state of readiness for an unexpected evacuation. Quick Facts: . Tsunamis are a series of unusually large waves formed by a large-scale disturbance of water bodies. . One of the primary causes of tsunamis is an earthquake, but tsunamis may also be triggered by landslides, volcanoes or explosions. . Off-shore tsunamis are generated by events occurring out in the Pacific Ocean and could impact BC’s outer coastal communities with waves from either the north, south or west. . The scientific community generally agrees that areas including the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, the Georgia Basin and the east coast of Vancouver Island are, in most cases, not at risk from tsunami waves generated as a result of a distant off-shore earthquake. . Near-shore tsunamis may be triggered by earthquakes, landslides or underwater slides occurring in local waters and could impact any coastal area. . Local emergency officials may not have enough time to issue a warning to residents in the event of tsunami created by a near-shore earthquake. If you feel intense shaking from a near-shore earthquake, move immediately to higher ground. . Sometimes the trough, rather than the crest, of the wave arrives onshore first. In this case, instead of very high water levels, the first sign of a tsunami is what appears to be a very low tide. . Emergency Preparedness Week is an annual event that runs during the first full week in May and is co-ordinated by Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the provinces. . Activities are organized across Canada to raise awareness of the importance of having an emergency kit; making an emergency plan; and identifying risks in the region to help prepare Canadians for all types of emergencies. Learn More: . To learn more about how you can be prepared for a disaster, visit the Emergency Management BC website at and the Public Safety Canada website at: For more information on emergency social services including how to volunteer in your community, visit:

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