The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) says people subscribed to the West Coast of Vancouver Island Tsunami Warning list through Alertable, a free emergency notification system, can expect a test alert Monday evening.
At 7 p.m., subscribers will receive a test alert via text, a phone call to their cellphone or landline or, depending on how they choose to receive notifications, through other methods like smart speakers, according to the SRD.
“The test is occurring during the evening to better ensure that people will directly receive and listen to the notifications sent to their landlines,” it says in a release.
The SRD says testing increases public awareness about Alertable and sparks emergency preparedness conversations so everyone can be prepared in the event of an actual tsunami warning. Testing also validates the effectiveness of the system and allows SRD staff to practice sending alerts and the public to provide feedback.
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Alertable will likely only be used in the event of a distant tsunami that is generated from an area like Alaska because if a very long earthquake occurs close to the coast, “there will be no time for an official warning to be issued due to infrastructure being critically damaged,” the SRD says.
It says an earthquake is the most likely natural warning sign that a tsunami is coming, though other signs include the ocean water moving far out, exposing the sea floor or hearing an unusually loud roar from the coast.
“If you are in a tsunami evacuation zone and observe any of these natural warnings, move to higher ground or inland as soon as it is safe to do so,” says the SRD. “There may be as little as 10 minutes between the earthquake and tsunami.”
SRD west coast communities include Kyuquot, Fair Harbour, Oclucje, Zeballos, Tahsis, Gold River and Yuquot, and the district provided estimated tsunami wave height and arrival times for each of those municipalities:
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The SRD says Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada radio channels, Alert Ready and local tsunami sirens will not be tested on Monday.
It’s encouraging residents to download the Alertable app through the App Store, subscribe to receive notifications through Alertable by visiting this website and check with local friends and family to see if they are also subscribed.
The B.C. government also has information about tsunamis, including how to be prepared for one and tsunami notification zones and alerts, online here.