Be Tsunami Smart

Tsunami Word Cloud Snip.JPG

Be Tsunami Smart

In March 2011, an enormous tsunami struck the east coast of Japan following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake. Seeing the event unfold in videos and photos had many British Columbians asking "Could that happen here?" 

A tsunami along B.C.'s coast is a rare but real threat. Learn the tsunami risk level of your coastal community and what you can do to prepare.

You can read about one Emergency Management BC professional's personal experience in Japan, six months after the tsunami.

What are tsunamis?

  • Tsunamis are large ocean waves most frequently generated by major earthquakes beneath the ocean floor. Watch this animated tsunami or go to Tsunami School with Emergency Management BC's Seismic Specialist Teron Moore.

Tsunami Animation.GIF

Teron Tsunami School Screen Shot.JPG

How do I prepare?

  • British Columbians should be prepared to manage on their own for a minimum of 72 hours following an emergency.
  • Know your community's suggested evacuation routes. Follow all instructions from local emergency officials.

What do I do if there is a tsunami threat?

  • Move to higher ground or, in some communities, a pre-identified safe area and stay there until you are told it is safe to return. Tsunami waves can last for several hours.
  • Tune your portable or vehicle's radio to a local station and listen for instructions.
  • Follow all instructions from local emergency officials.
  • Never go to the coast to watch a tsunami. A tsunami moves faster than a person can run.

How will I know if a tsunami is coming?

Emergency Management BC will receive notification of a potential tsunami from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre. All information is then assessed by B.C. emergency officials and technical staff from the Canadian Hydrographic Service and Department of Fisheries and Oceans to determine what, if any, B.C. coastal areas are threatened.

Emergency Management BC will then activate the Provincial Emergency Notification System, which notifies local communities and agencies to implement their emergency response plans as required.