Tsunami Preparedness Week runs April 7 – 13. (File photo)

Tsunami Preparedness Week kicks off Sunday in Greater Victoria

Highlights resources residents need to survive a tsunami in the area

Tsunami Preparedness Week kicks off Sunday with different ways for Greater Victoria residents to access the resources they need to survive a tsunami in the area.

A tsunami is a natural hazard, consisting of a series of long, surge-like waves that are usually caused by an underwater earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption.

The City of Victoria warns that although tsunamis are rare, it’s important to understand the impact of a tsunami on Victoria and what to do in the event of a tsunami warning.

Due to the location of Victoria, a large, fast wave of water – like what took place in Thailand and Japan – is not expected.

Tsunami modelling for the region shows an earthquake that happens far away and isn’t felt, may cause a very low-risk and low-impact tsunami event in Victoria. For the more local earthquakes, the shaking from the earthquake is your warning of a local tsunami.

READ ALSO: Tsunami not expected for B.C. after largest earthquake to strike U.S. in 2019

The projected arrival for a local tsunami at Victoria’s harbour is 76 minutes, with a maximum water level of 2.5 metres –based on a 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. In contrast, the 2011 Japanese tsunami caused by a 9.0 earthquake had a maximum water level of 40 metres.

You are safe from a tsunami in the Capital Region if you are located four metres above sea level. A compass on a mobile device or Google Earth shows approximate elevations. To see if you live, work or play in a tsunami hazard zone, view the City of Victoria’s Tsunami Hazard Map.

READ ALSO: One year anniversary of tsunami warning in Victoria: what’s changed?

In the event of a tsunami warning, move to higher ground immediately if you are in a low coastal area, beach, marina or harbour. Do not stay to watch the tsunami waves and do not return until officials say it’s safe to do so.

If you are not in a tsunami hazard zone, stay in place and be prepared to help family, friends and neighbours in need of shelter. Watch local media for updates.

If you are near the ocean and feel an earthquake that makes it difficult to stand for 60 seconds or more, drop, cover, and hold on, count to 60 once all shaking has stopped, and then move to higher ground or inland. Do not wait for an official tsunami warning.

The City of Victoria receives notifications of potential distant tsunamis from the National Tsunami Warning Centre. Vic-Alert, the City’s subscriber-based emergency notification service and the provincial government’s AlertBC system, both send out warnings. To subscribe to the free emergency notification service visit VictoriaReady.ca.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria jumps on board the ‘Municipal survivor challenge’

There will also be a free event at Cinecenta at UVic on the evening of April 11 – Disasters on the Big Screen: Tsunami Risk, Earthquake Safety, and Preparedness.

Video clips from the movie Disaster Wars: Earthquake vs. Tsunami will be shown with commentary throughout by Teron Moore, Safety Program Manager from Ocean Networks Canada and Capt. Maegan Thompson from the Saanich Emergency Program.

The event is an approachable way to learn important information about local tsunami risk, earthquake safety and the importance of preparedness for ages 14 years and older.

It runs April 11, from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Cinecenta, University of Victoria.

Residents are also encouraged to host a High Ground Hike during Tsunami Preparedness Week.

The idea of the event is to start at any site at risk of tsunami and have participants run, walk or hike to “high ground” following a marked evacuation route.

All the resources needed to organize one can be found on the PrepareBC website at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/high-ground-hike

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