Event aims to raise awareness about BC’s tsunami risk
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), along with ShakeOut BC, is joining Prepared BC and the District of Tofino for the eighth annual High Ground Hike as part of tsunami preparedness week.
The in-person event, which takes place today, aims to raise awareness about BC’s earthquake and tsunami risk and provide those living along the coast with the opportunity to practice getting to higher ground and reaching a tsunami-safe location.
With BC being a seismically active province, most coastal communities like Tofino are at risk of tsunamis caused by undersea earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, such as the one observed near the Tonga Islands in January 2022.
“More than 4,000 earthquakes occur across Canada every year and experts predict that there is a one-in-three chance that a major earthquake will strike at some point over the next 50 years,” said IBC Pacific and Western vice president Aaron Sutherland.
Sutherland described High Ground Hike as an “opportunity to learn about the potential for a catastrophic event and how to better prepare when faced with an emergency.”
“Governments, industry, and citizens all have a role to play in creating a culture of preparedness,” he added. “Awareness is the first step, and this event aims to create that.”
A Press release from IBC outlined tips for British Columbians to take note of in the event of a tsunami. This includes becoming familiar with local evacuation routes and reception centre locations, as well as subscribing to local emergency and weather alerts, if possible “While potential earthquake hazards depend on your location, everywhere in British Columbia is considered high risk in relation to the rest of Canada,” said Naomi Yamamoto, president of the BC Earthquake Alliance, which hosts the province-wide earthquake drill ShakeOut BC. “That is why it is never too late to update our emergency preparedness plans and practice ‘drop, cover, and hold on.’ ShakeOut BC encourages everyone to spread the word and join us during the eighth annual High Ground Hike in Tofino.”