Protect yourself from a tsunami

Protect yourself from a tsunami
For More
Information
Find out what you can do now to make
sure you and your family are prepared
for earthquakes, tsunamis, and other
hazards where you live, work, and play.
See the Provincial Emergency Program
website at: www.pep.bc.ca
Are you prepared? Be part of your
community. Volunteer with your local
Emergency Program.
Contact the
Emergency Program in your area at:
District of Central Saanich
544-4227
www.pemo.ca
Township of Esquimalt
414-7100.
www.esquimalt.ca/emerg/index.htm
District of North Saanich
656-1931
www.pemo.ca
District of Oak Bay
592-9121
www.oakbayemergency.com
District of Saanich
475-5503
www.saanich.ca/resident/safety/prep/
program.html
Town of Sidney
656-2121
www.pemo.ca
City of Victoria
920-3373
www.vema-info.ca
Town of View Royal
479-7322
www.town.viewroyal.bc.ca
About Tsunamis
Tsunamis are rare, but dangerous events. Scientists and technical
experts agree that areas around Greater Victoria are not seriously
threatened by tsunamis. (source: PEP website)
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Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes. Earthquakes are common in BC, and
more than 1,200 earthquakes are recorded each year. Most are too small to be
felt, but an earthquake capable of causing structural damage is expected to occur
about once every ten years, on average. A very strong earthquake is needed to
generate a tsunami.
Tsunamis, like earthquakes, may occur at any time of the day or week throughout
the year.
There is no way to predict when a tsunami may strike before one is generated.
For Greater Victoria, our greatest chance of a damaging tsunami will follow a
major earthquake occurring in the subduction zone off Vancouver Island.
Tsunamis usually arrive as a series of waves, and each may arrive many minutes
apart.
Local Earthquake – A strong earthquake in the Victoria area may also generate a
local tsunami. Therefore, if you live or work in a tsunami hazard zone and feel strong
ground shaking, you should move to high ground immediately and return only after
local emergency officials advise that it is safe to do so. Emergency officials may not
have time or means to issue a tsunami warning following a local earthquake. Refer to
the map on the reverse side to identify tsunami hazard zones in your area.
Distant Earthquake – Tsunamis originating some distance away in the Pacific Ocean
may not be preceded by a “felt earthquake” in Greater Victoria. When a warning from a
distant tsunami is issued, local emergency officials usually have time to notify citizens
close to beaches and low-lying areas. Communities in high-risk areas along the west
coast of Vancouver Island will activate their emergency plans and advise people in
tsunami hazard zones to move to higher ground. In the Greater Victoria area, tsunami
waves caused by distant earthquakes may impact the same coastal properties that
are regularly affected by serious winter storms.
For residents or workers in tsunami planning zones, the local government will
issue notifications by various means, such as instructions from police, fire or other
emergency personnel, use of loud hailers, telephone fan-outs, and local news media.
People are advised to follow the directions of local emergency officials and stay tuned
to local radio or television stations for additional information and instructions from
emergency officials.
Learn to Protect
Yourself from
a Tsunami
The main tsunami threat to Greater Victoria comes from a subduction
earthquake off the West Coast.
A tsunami created elsewhere in the Pacific Basin would, at most, affect lowlying coastal areas in Greater Victoria, similar to large winter storms. Like
large winter storms tsunami waves can threaten people on beaches because
of the strong currents involved.
Other local earthquakes are not likely to generate destructive tsunamis directly. However,
earthquake-generated landslides can produce large waves in the ocean and on lakes. You
should move away from beaches and low lying areas if you feel a strong earthquake.
Notice to Greater Victoria Residents
The most dangerous tsunami threat will follow a major earthquake in the “subduction zone,”
located about 100 km off Vancouver Island. Such an earthquake (commonly called “The Big
One”) will cause ground shaking so severe that you will find it difficult to stand upright for
60 seconds or more. The best available science suggests that residents in the Victoria area
plan for tsunami impacts within 4 metres
elevation of the normal highest tide.
Because of the underwater topography in
the Strait of Juan de Fuca, tsunamis created
elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean are not
likely to affect properties in Greater Victoria
beyond the high water that normally comes
with severe winter storms.
Likewise, minor or moderate earthquakes in
the vicinity of Greater Victoria will not likely
generate a destructive tsunami. However,
strong local earthquakes can trigger
landslides which in turn can generate
significant waves if they enter the water.
How to protect yourself
from tsunami following
a major earthquake in
Greater Victoria
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Your best protection from a tsunami
following a big earthquake is to seek
high ground, approximately 4 metres
or more above sea level. This is a level
well above the expected tsunami
height. For safe zones, see the map
on the back of this brochure, or see
www.pep.bc.ca. The first wave from
such an earthquake could arrive in
Victoria area in about an hour and a
half. Expect several waves over many
hours. The second or third wave may
be bigger than the first.
Tsunami Warnings
Seek an open space in a tsunami-safe
zone to gather with others after the
earthquake. In inclement weather,
remember the potential for aftershocks
and use caution in selecting a place of
shelter.
Listen to a local radio station for further
information and instructions specific to
your community. Do not return to lowlying coastal areas until you are informed
by officials that it is safe to do so.
How to Use the Hazard Map
1.
Be aware of indications that a tsunami may
be coming:
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Make sure your neighbours know of
the tsunami potential after a major
earthquake has hit, and help each
other reach safety.
Move to a tsunami-safe zone in your
community (refer to map). Remember
to take your family emergency kit with
you, including a portable AM/FM radio.
Tsunami Watches and Warnings are not likely to be issued for the Greater Victoria area, however
you should know these terms and how to protect yourself: WATCH, WARNING, and CANCELLATION.
3.
Ground Shaking in the Greater Victoria
Area. A strong earthquake lasting 60
seconds or more should be your warning
to seek high ground if you are near the
sea. When a major subduction earthquake
occurs, the first wave could arrive at
Victoria in about an hour and a half.
Rapid Rise or Fall in Sea Level – If you
happen to be at a beach anywhere
in the world, you may observe an
important natural warning sign of an
approaching tsunami wave. The sea
level may begin rising steadily, or the
water level may drop so much that the
sea floor is exposed. These are signs
that a tsunami wave is coming very
soon. Warn others around you and
seek high ground immediately.
A tsunami WATCH means the area indicated in the
message could be impacted by a tsunami. This is an
advance alert based on early seismic information to
allow communities to prepare for possible evacuation
and impact.
What to do when a tsunami Watch is
issued:
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Listen to a local radio station for ongoing news about
the potential tsunami.
Check with others in the immediate vicinity to make
sure they know about the situation.
Assemble any items you may wish to take with you
to safety, such as pets, camping equipment, or travel
bags.
If you have access to the Internet, you can check the
status of tsunami alerts by viewing the PEP website at:
www.pep.bc.ca. Click on “Tsunami.” Note that Greater
Victoria is located in Zone D on the website map.
Official Notices – Although Greater
Victoria is not significantly threatened
by tsunamis generated elsewhere
in the Pacific Ocean, you may hear
official notices addressed to other
communities through the radio and
television news.
Strong shaking is your warning. When an earthquake makes it difficult to stand
or the shaking lasts for 60 seconds or more, move away from beaches and low
lying areas and seek higher ground. Do not count on official notices to warn you
to evacuate because the earthquake may cause communication systems to fail.
A tsunami WARNING means there is an imminent threat of
a tsunami or confirmation that a tsunami wave has been
generated for the area indicated in the message. This is
the highest and most serious level of tsunami notification.
Local communities are expected to activate emergency
plans and take safety actions, such as evacuating low-lying
coastal areas. If you are visiting a community on the west
coast of Vancouver Island and hear a tsunami warning,
follow the instructions of local emergency personnel.
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What to do when a tsunami Warning is
issued:
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If you hear a tsunami warning but did not feel an
earthquake, the wave is expected to be no higher than
1 meter in height. In this case, beaches and houses
immediately above the high tide line should be
evacuated and residents should move away from the
beach and shoreline.
If the warning was preceded by an earthquake, assume that
a tsunami of 1 to 3 metres in height has been generated.
Make sure others nearby know of the warning.
Move to high ground nearby in the community. In
Greater Victoria, the recommended safe zone in the case
of a tsunami generated by an earthquake that you felt is
higher than 4 meters above sea level. On the outer west
coast of Vancouver Island you should move to ground
that is 20 meters above sea level or greater.
Go to an open space in a safe zone to gather with others.
Wait until you are informed by officials that it is safe to
return.
A tsunami CANCELLATION or All Clear means the threat
of an imminent damaging tsunami is over.
What to do when a tsunami
Cancellation is issued:
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Confirm that the Cancellation has been issued by
the local emergency program for your area. One
community may report a cancellation by news radio
or television, but it may not apply to your location.
If confirmed, you are free to return to coastal areas.
Use the map on the reverse side of this brochure
to locate your home and determine if you are in a
tsunami planning zone.
If your home is outside a tsunami planning zone, be
prepared to receive neighbours in need of shelter.
If you home is in a tsunami planning zone, locate the
nearest tsunami safe zone on the map.
Locate on the map the nearest park, field, parking lot, or
other open space in the tsunami safe zone where you
can gather with others to receive further information.
Identify the route you would walk to reach safety within
one hour of a major earthquake. After an earthquake, roads
may be blocked and driving may not be a safe option.
Do the same for your place of work, school, or common
recreational facilities.
Discuss the tsunami hazard with your family and coworkers. Everyone should know what to do when
a tsunami follows a major earthquake. Discussing
tsunamis ahead of time will help reduce fear and save
precious time.
Be Prepared for All Hazards
Tsunami is just one of many hazards that may affect your
community. Learn about and prepare for them all:
Home
Prepare individual and family kits to make sure you
have the supplies you need to sustain yourself. See the
Individual & Neighbourhood All Hazard Emergency
Preparedness Handbook at www.pep.bc.ca.
Workplace
Workplaces located in tsunami planning zones should
have emergency plans for responding to potential
tsunamis.
Schools
If your child’s school is not in a tsunami planning zone,
find out where you will go to pick up your child following
a tsunami warning or impact. Remember, telephone lines
may be unusable after a big earthquake and roadways
may be blocked by debris.
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