If you would like to receive tsunami email notifications, you can sign up via the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Through this service, you will receive notifications from the National Tsunami Warning Center regarding events impacting British Columbia. However, please note, you will also receive notifications from the following associated agencies: Pacific Tsunami Warning CenterNorth West Pacific Tsunami Advisory Center and regional tsunami service providers in India and Indonesia.

The National Tsunami Warning Center (@NWS_NTWC), Natural Resources Canada (@CANADAquakes) and the U.S. Geographical Survey (@USGSted) are also on Twitter. For information on signing up for Twitter notifications and other services it provides, click here.

B.C.’s coastal communities are divided into five notification zones. Know your zone in advance of a tsunami.

  • Zone A (North Coast and Haida Gwaii)
  • Zone B (Central Coast and Northeast Vancouver Island Coast, including Kitimat, Bella Coola and Port Hardy)
  • Zone C (Outer West Coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew)
  • Zone D (Juan de Fuca Strait from Jordan River to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula)
  • Zone E (Strait of Georgia including the Gulf Islands, Greater Vancouver and Johnstone Strait)

The BC Emergency Alerting System is part of a new Canada-wide system – AlertReady – that allows government officials to issue public safety messages through major television and radio broadcasters. Read more about the BC Emergency Alerting System here.

Evacuation Stages

Evacuation Order: You are at risk. Leave the area immediately.

Evacuation Alert: Be ready to leave on short notice. If you leave before or during this alert, it’s called a voluntary evacuation.

Declaration of Local State of Emergency: Declared by a local government when an emergency or disaster within its jurisdiction requires access to the extraordinary emergency powers of the Emergency Program Act.

Evacuation Rescinded: All is currently safe and you can return home. Stay tuned for other possible evacuation alerts or orders.

Tsunami Alert Levels

Warning: A “Warning” is the highest level of tsunami alert. Warnings are issued due to the imminent threat of a tsunami from a large undersea earthquake, or following confirmation that a potentially destructive tsunami is underway. They may initially be based only on seismic information as a means of providing the earliest possible alert. Warnings advise that appropriate actions be taken in response to the tsunami threat. Such actions could include the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas.

Advisory: An “Advisory” is the second highest level of tsunami alert. Advisories are issued due to the threat of a tsunami that has the potential to produce strong currents dangerous to those in or near the water. Significant inundation is not expected for areas under an Advisory but coastal zones may be at risk due to strong currents. Appropriate actions by local emergency management personnel may include closing beaches and evacuating harbours and marinas.

Watch: A “Watch” is the third highest level of tsunami alert. Watches are based on seismic information, without confirmation that a destructive tsunami is underway. There is a potential threat to a zone under a tsunami Watch but communities have time to prepare. Emergency management personnel and coastal residents should prepare to take action in case the Watch is upgraded.

Cancellation: A “Cancellation” cancels any previously issued tsunami messages. It is issued when there is no longer observed evidence of tsunami waves at tide gauge stations. Local conditions may differ from those at tide gauge stations and local authorities should determine the safety of coastlines. Once a cancellation has been issued for a tsunami event, EMBC will no longer issue tsunami messages.

Flooding Terms

Flood Warning: Means river levels have exceeded bankfull or will exceed bankfull imminently, and that flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers will result.

Flood Watch: Means river levels are rising and will approach or may exceed bankfull. Flooding of areas adjacent to affected rivers may occur.

High Streamflow Advisory: Means river levels are rising or expected to rise rapidly, but no major flooding is expected. Minor flooding in low-lying areas is possible.

When disaster strikes, people want to be part of the online conversation. #Hashtags can be used to connect and share information about emergency response and recovery efforts.

Follow @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter for the latest disaster information, as well as for evolving and trending hashtags on event.

As a general guide, we’ve also compiled a quick list of commonly used emergency hashtags for British Columbia. Our partners at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also oversee a list of the most popular hashtags for B.C. communities.

Alerts and Bulletins
#BCearthquake, #earthquake
#BCtsunami, #tsunami

For media enquiries related to Emergency Management BC, please contact 250 952-5062.

For media enquiries related to flood warnings, watches and advisories from the River Forecast Centre, please contact the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations at 778-698-8395 or during regular business hours. On weekends, call 250 213-2972 or email

For media enquiries related to road work, infrastructure and highways, please contact the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure at 250 356-8241.

For media enquiries related to local Declarations of a State of Emergency and Evacuation Order and Alerts, please contact the local authority issuing the information, available by searching BC Local Governments, First Nations, Improvement Districts and Related Agencies.