Get Prepared for a Tsunami in British Columbia
Tsunamis are a series of waves most often generated by a major earthquake beneath the ocean floor. The time between waves can range from minutes to hours, and in height from a few centimetres to several metres. The waves travel about 800 kilometres per hour, but start to slow in shallower, coastal waters where their heights increase dramatically.
Tsunamis can be devastating, but you can stay safe by recognizing the signs and getting to high ground quickly. Download the PreparedBC: Earthquake and Tsunami Guide (PDF, 1.52MB) and start getting prepared today.
Be prepared to be on your own for a minimum of three days to one week by developing an emergency plan, putting together your emergency kit and grab-and-go bags and connecting with your neighbours (PDF, 2.55MB).
Practice evacuation procedures and routes. Suggest running a High Ground Hike in your community. It's a fun way to learn about your area's tsunami risk and how local authorities expect you to respond.
Make sure you know how your local authority will share information and instructions during a tsunami threat (TV, radio, social media etc.).
- B.C.'s coastal communities are divided into five Tsunami Notification Zones (PDF, 6.57MB). Identify what zone you're in.
- The north coast and Haida Gwaii.
- The central coast and northeast Vancouver Island coast including Kitimat, Bella Coola, and Port Hardy.
- The outer west coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew.
- The Juan de Fuca straight from Jordan River to Greater Victoria including the Saanich Peninsula.
- The Straight of Georgia including the Gulf Islands.
- Greater Vancouver and Johnstone Strait.
- Earthquakes are the most common precursor to a tsunami.
- If you feel strong shaking, drop, cover and hold on.
- Once the shaking has stopped, move to higher ground or, in some communities, a pre-identified safe area.
- Follow all instructions from local officials.
- Tsunami waves can last several hours, so stay on higher ground until you receive the “all clear” message from your local authority.
- Never go to the beach to watch the waves. A tsunami can move faster than you can run.
- Your local authority will provide instructions in the event of an incoming tsunami. Make sure you are aware of the public information channels it will use (TV, radio, social media etc.).
- Provincial public safety information will be distributed via the EmergencyInfoBC website and its companion Twitter feed, @EmergencyInfoBC.
- You can also follow the National Tsunami Warning Center, Natural Resources Canada and the US Geological Survey on Twitter (@NWS_NTWC), @CANADAquakes @USGSted).
|WARNING||Flood wave possible||Full evacuation suggested|
|ADVISORY||Strong currents likely||Stay away from the shore|
|WATCH||Danger level not yet known||Stay alert for more information|
|INFORMATION STATEMENT||Minor waves at most||No action suggested|
|CANCELLATION||Tidal gauges show no wave activity||Confirm safety of local areas|