A wave of conversation followed the tsunami alert issued along the coast last month.
It prompted responses such as Oak Bay adding a second emergency preparedness session to an already-planned program.
“The warning was in place for three or four hours and then the warning was lifted. But in the meantime people really weren’t sure how to respond,” said Eileen Grant, manager, emergency programs for Oak Bay. “A lot of them slept through it because it was a 1 a.m. But some didn’t. Some were wakened by concerned relatives in other parts of the country who were already up.”
It appeared there was confusion about why things happened, how things happened and many voiced concern over how they should have been notified or not notified. It made people question what they knew.
“A lot of people understand the word tsunami, they don’t understand what it means to them, what it means to their community and when they should evacuate and when it’s fine to roll over and go back to sleep,” Grant said.
Many weren’t aware of when or where to evacuate.
“They’re not aware of things like inundation zones and this sort of thing, even though we do talk about it during our emergency preparedness sessions, we don’t place a lot of emphasis on it,” Grant said. “That’s because Oak Bay is surrounded by ocean, but it’s not as big a risk as some of the other risks that are out there.”
In response, Oak Bay, Saanich and the University of Victoria offer Tsunami 101 – Risk, Impact and Preparedness. The free public session is Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Bob Wright Centre, Room B150, Flury Hall. To ensure seating people are asked to pre-register.
The presentation will include the latest information on the advances in tsunami research. Presenters include Dr. Kelin Wang, PhD Senior Research Scientist, Geological Survey of Canada, on understanding earthquakes and tsunamis in coastal British Columbia; the risks of earthquakes and tsunamis on the West Coast and what scientists do to prepare society for these risks.
Dr. Tania Lado Insua, PhD Ocean Analytics Program Manager, Ocean Networks Canada will cover how tsunamis are measured and modelled; the basics of tsunami science, tsunami modelling and tsunami detection. Grant and Maegan Thompson, emergency program officer for Saanich will talk about preparedness and tsunami response. Rob Johns, Emergency Planning Manager, University of Victoria will moderate the event.
Registration is required to guarantee a seat, call 250‐475‐7121 or visit saanich.ca/EN/main/community/emergency‐program.html Course #905504.