Lessons from our local history: Tsunami Preparedness Week is April 11-17

April 7, 2021

Media release

For immediate release 

Lessons from our local history: Tsunami Preparedness Week is April 11-17

Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich is participating in Emergency Management BC’s Tsunami Preparedness Week by encouraging residents to develop their own personal emergency preparedness plan and understand the tsunami risk in Saanich.

Just over 300 year ago, on January 26, 1700, many coastal areas of Vancouver Island experienced a significant tsunami following a major earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The event has been captured in indigenous oral histories and was measured and dated as far away as Japan. More recently, Port Alberni experienced a large tsunami in 1964 following an earthquake in Alaska. These events serve as important reminders that tsunamis have occurred in our region and will occur again.

“Tsunami Preparedness Week provides a great opportunity for Saanich residents to develop or update their emergency plan,” said Saanich Deputy Fire Chief Frank Macdonald. “The primary tsunami risk in our region is from a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, and the strong shaking from this event is nature’s warning to move to higher ground or inland, four meters vertical from the high tide line.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that major emergencies and disasters do happen in our own communities and that preparedness and understanding the risks is a shared responsibility. Risk maps and more information is available from the Saanich Emergency Program webpages on Saanich.ca/prepare. The Saanich Emergency Program also offers free virtual emergency preparedness presentations which provide information for individuals to be able to sustain themselves and their families for a minimum of seven days after a disaster. Each participant receives locally developed resources to help with emergency planning.

Join us for the next emergency preparedness presentation:

  • Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
  • Time: 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Location: Virtual online presentation

Register by emailing sep@saanich.ca or call 250-475-7140

Learn more about tsunami preparedness and the Saanich Emergency Program on Saanich.ca/prepare or follow us on Twitter @SaanichEP.


Media contact:
Frank Macdonald, Saanich Deputy Fire Chief
Saanich Fire Department