Another evacuation alert roused some North Island residents from their beds last weekend, as a tsunami warning was issued for a short time early on Saturday morning after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaska coast.
Evacuations had begun on the North Island when the warning was cancelled shortly afterward, when it became apparent that no damaging waves were imminent.
The warning was issued for the B.C. coast after the earthquake struck west of Craig, Alaska, meaning the area was likely to be hit by a wave causing ‘significant widespread inundation’, but later withdrawn as it became clear that the waves were too small to pose a threat.
Regional PEP coordinator Cori Neilson said that she was still looking into the events of the weekend but “from what I’ve seen things went pretty smoothly.”
She said that emergency planners were taking the lessons learned from the past warnings and moving forward, refining their plans so that, should a tsunami make landfall, the region will be as well prepared as possible.
She said that the difference in response between this warning and the last was “a lot more monitoring of the situation rather than swinging into action.”
She explained that many factors go into anticipating the expected level of an incoming wave, from earthquake type and location to the level of the tide.
“The biggest thing going forward is communication,” she continued, adding that a lot of work had been done since the last warning to ensure that contact information for key people in the area was up to date.
For the public Neilson’s advice was simple: “If you don’t have an emergency kit, get one. Also remember to include a list of contact numbers in the kit — both key local contacts and numbers for outside the area.”
She added the importance of an emergency plan since an emergency could happen at any time and there is no guarantee that phones will work or that your family will be together when it happens.
For advice on drafting an emergency plan or making an emergency preparedness kit go to www.getprepared.gc.ca and follow the links there.