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Colwood, B.C., hosts hike to prepare residents for potential tsunami

The Colwood, B.C., waterfront on April 29, 2024. (CTV News) The Colwood, B.C., waterfront on April 29, 2024. (CTV News)
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In Colwood, B.C., there are 35 residential homes in the tsunami inundation zone.

“Most of them are single-family homes just over by the lagoon across the way there,” said Josh Pettigrew, emergency program coordinator with the City of Colwood.

Pettigrew says those homes would be in immediate risk if a tsunami was to hit southern Vancouver Island.

“We have to try to make sure we educate those folks and prepare them as a city to where they need to go and what they need to watch for,” said Pettigrew.

On Friday, Royal Roads University was ground zero for an informational exercise on how far one would have to travel to higher ground to stay safe if a tsunami was on its way – experts say at least 30 metres above sea level.

“There are a couple of natural tsunami warning signs,” said Rachel Schoeler, public education officer with the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

Schoeler says if you see a sudden rise or fall of the ocean, or hear an unexplained rumble at sea, head to higher ground.

“If you’re near the coast and you experience an earthquake, you will drop, cover and hold on and then once the shaking stops, you’ll head to higher ground,” said Schoeler.

She says there are three steps to being properly prepared in the case of a tsunami. “Knowing your hazards, making your plan and gathering your supplies."

Know what types of emergencies you need to be prepared for. Have a playbook for the actions you are going to taken and have an emergency kit and a grab and go bag ready in case that emergency happens.

Pettigrew urges residents to download the Westshore Alert app through the City of Colwood’s website. It will alert residents to an earthquake as well as if a tsunami warning has been issued.

“Within the last 48 hours, we had small earthquakes off of Port Alice and Port Hardy,” said Pettigrew

It's a common occurrence in this part of the world. Knowing the big one could happen at anytime, Colwood is preparing its residents, especially those living in the tsunami inundation zone.

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