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Town mapped for tsunami risk

Naval fleet located in dangerous territory

Curious what to do in the event of a tsunami?

A new brochure that Greater Victoria’s municipalities have jointly put together provides a wide range of information concerning how people can protect themselves from a tsunami should one ever strike the region. The Learn to Protect Yourself from a Tsunami brochure stresses that residents should be aware that there isn’t a huge chance that a tsunami will hit the region.

“The main point of the brochure really is to educate our residents of Greater Victoria that the risk of a tsunami in our area is relatively low so they don’t panic when they hear a tsunami warning on the radio,” said Brenda Warner, emergency coordinator for Esquimalt’s emergency program.

The only occasion when there would be a serious threat of a tsunami is if there is a major earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island, she said.

Tsunamis that occur elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean would likely have the same impact as a winter storm.

While the risk of a tsunami is relatively low there are steps people would need to take in the event that one did hit the region, said Rob Johns, the City of Victoria’s Emergency Social Services program manager.

“We want them to understand that the hazard is real – but not as large a hazard as some would believe – and because of that we want them to take some steps.”

That said, people need to know where the tsunami planning zones are located in the region. Area residents also need to know what steps they need to take at home so they are better prepared for tsunamis and earthquakes, Johns said.

The brochure provides all of that information, and outlines areas deemed vulnerable to tsunamis.

“We tried to be as complete as we can,” he said.

Federal government scientists helped create the map.

Areas in the City of Victoria where tsunami planning is particularly important include the Inner Harbour and Odgen Point.

In Esquimalt, West Bay and areas around Dockyard and Naden at CFB Esquimalt would be vulnerable to tsunamis.

CFB Esquimalt is well prepared for tsunamis or any other disaster. The military has an emergency response plan that is used to respond to any disaster including tsunamis, earthquakes and plane crashes, said Capt. Darin Guenette, base public affairs spokesperson.

“We have the same response regardless of the crisis, whether it’s natural, whether it’s man made, terrorists — you name it.”

Each municipality received a grant through the Provincial Emergency Program to fund public awareness for tsunami preparedness. The Tsunami Working Group was them formed with emergency planning officials from across the region.

“The Tsunami Working Group in my opinion can be held up as a model of how working together can produce the best results for all of our residents,” Warner said. ” We are fortunate to have such a dedicated, professional group of emergency planning professionals in the region.”

The Victoria Emergency Management Agency is holding two tsunami preparedness information sessions.

The first session takes place on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield Community Place (1341 Thurlow St.) in the Garry Oak Room. The second session takes place on Mar. 1 at 7 p.m. at James Bay New Horizons (234 Menzies St.).

The brochures are available Esquimalt Municipal Hall (1229 Esquimalt Rd.), the Esquimalt Recreation Centre (527 Fraser St.), Victoria City Hall (No. 1 Centennial Square), Crystal Pool (2275 Quadra St.), the Victoria Fire Department (1234 Yates St.) and other locations across the Capital Region

For more information, visit www.victoria.ca or www.esquimalt.ca.

mbrowne@vicnews.com

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