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What Should I Do When I Hear About a Tsunami Warning?

National Tsunami Warning Center

Tsunamis are rare, but serious events.

Tsunamis originating some distance away across the Pacific Ocean may not be preceded by a "felt earthquake." 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 will act on their emergency plans to respond to tsunami warnings. People will be advised by local emergency officials to follow evacuation routes to higher ground.

It is agreed by scientific and technical experts, that areas around Victoria and Vancouver are generally not seriously threatened in these types of situations.

In a less likely situation, a strong near-shore earthquake may also generate a tsunami. Therefore, if you live in a high-risk area and feel strong ground shaking, it is recommended that you move inland or to high ground immediately and return only after local emergency officials say to do so. Emergency officials may not have time to issue a warning.

In high-risk municipalities and regional districts, tsunami notifications are undertaken locally by various means: loud hailer, siren, phone fan-outs, etc. People are advised to follow the directions of local emergency officials and stay tuned to local radio or TV stations for information and instructions from emergency officials in the area.

Personal Preparedness

General Information

Tsunami Notification Zone Maps

Tsunami 101 presentation

This video presentation introduces the basic elements of tsunami, including how they are generated and what factors influence how big the waves will be. The 2012 Haida Gwaii tsunami is used as an example to illustrate local wave height differences and the challenge for tsunami alerting as information is gathered and assessed. This presentation contextualizes the hazard to assist emergency managers and the public in planning for and responding appropriately during a tsunami.

Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Manual

Earthquakes are common in B.C. and more than 1,200 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.

Tsunamis can be associated with earthquakes. Damaging tsunamis are a rare, but serious event. Find out what you can do now to make sure you and your family are prepared ... Read more>>

link to the Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Manual
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