January 7, 2013 - A large earthquake occured on January 5, 2013 off the coast of Alaska. A tsunami warning was issued for some coastal zones of BC, including the north end of Vancouver Island and were subsequently removed. No advisory was issued for BC Tsunami Notification Zone E, which includes Coquitlam.
BC has areas of higher tsunami risk and it is important to know what to do when traveling to those areas. There is a low probability of locally generated tsunamis occurring in the Georgia Strait following an earthquake. However, if you are on the coast and feel a tremor it is important to move quickly to higher ground.
Information on hazard preparedness and a description of Tsunami Notification Zones is availble at Emergency Management BC. Coquitlam receives tsunami warnings and advisories from the Emergency Management Centre for BC and information on hazard preparedness and a description of Tsunami Notification Zones is availble on their website above.
Earthquake Preparedness Quick Checklist
Each year, about 5,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada – many of these in the seismically active region around B.C. Most are small, but at least nine earthquakes in or near Canada have registered a magnitude of seven or more in the past century.
A magnitude six earthquake could do extensive damage in Coquitlam. Individuals who are prepared for a major disaster will suffer fewer injuries and less property damage, and be better equipped to care for themselves afterwards as authorities work to restore services.
Follow these tips to develop an emergency plan for your family:
- Do a “hazard hunt” for items that might fall during earthquakes, and secure them.
- Make your home safe by eliminating or securing household items that can cause injury and damage.
- Assemble a Home Emergency Kit for family members in a portable container (minimum 3 day supply) and store it in an accessible location (e.g. near an exit). Don’t forget to include the specific requirements of children, pets and others with special needs.
- Know how to shut off utilities at the source to ensure immediate closing of gas and water leaks. Know where and how to shut off electrical power when required.
- Ensure your family has an evacuation plan from your home that includes a safe family meeting place and ensure all family members know the plan. (Visit www.getprepared.gc.ca for information).
- Arrange an Out of Province/Area Contact to act as a “message centre” for your family and keep their contact information and other important phone numbers with you.
- Make copies of important documents (i.e. insurance, medical records, wills, etc.) and store them in a safe location that is accessible even if your home is damaged.
- Keep a flashlight and hard-soled shoes beside each family member’s bed so during an emergency evacuation, it is easier to navigate at night.
- Assemble a Grab-and-Go Kit with emergency supplies that you store in your vehicle and/or at work.
- Always maintain a ¼ tank of gas in your vehicle.
- Plan and practice the Drop, Cover and Hold On procedure with your family members, so you know how to protect yourself during an earthquake:
- Drop to the floor;
- Take Cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table; and
- Hold On until the shaking stops.
- If you are unable to get down on the ground, brace yourself against an interior wall, protecting your head, neck and face with your arms.
Visit www.shakeoutbc.ca for more actions.
Out of Province/Area Contact
We are very dependant on the phone system as a means to make contact with each other. Following a large disaster, there is the possibility that land and cellular phone service may be limited as lines may be overloaded, down or only working sporadically.
If you are unable to contact your family by phone, there is still the possibility of learning where and how they are by using an Out of Province/Area Contact Person.
This is how it works:
- Arrange with someone in a different region (not in the coastal areas of BC or the USA) to be your family contact in an emergency.
- Choose someone who has voice mail or an answering machine.
- Make sure that all family members carry this person’s number with them. Share your family contact name and number with family, friends and your child’s school.
- After a disaster, listen to the radio or TV for telephone use instructions.
- When phones are working and family members are separated, the Out of Province/Area Contact could be used. Individual family members would update the contact person with information regarding where and how they are and arrange a future check in time. Your family may not be together following a disaster, but this will allow you to know the status of your family members.
- Keep all calls short, as there will be many others trying to do the same thing as you.
Visit the Emergency Management BC, Provincial Emergency Program website to print a copy of the Emergency Contact Wallet Card.
Emergency Program Office