Tsunami FAQ

The last couple of tsunami warnings have occured late at night or early in the morning.

As such many residents have had questions regarding the process of being alerted and next steps. 

Below are some of the questions residents have asked: 

1. Why wasn’t I notified?

Only residents within the identified tsunami planning areas will be evacuated via door-to-door notification due to a tsunami warning. If you are not in a tsunami planning area you will not be notified.

If you do live in an identified planning area, you may not be notified if the tsunami warning is cancelled before the evacuation process is completed.
You can find out if your property is located is in a tsunami planning area here

2. Does Esquimalt have a notification system like Vic Alert?

Yes, to sign up for Esquimalt Alert please follow the link: Esquimalt Alert

3. Where do I go if I’m evacuated?

You will be directed to a reception centre if you are evacuated and need a safe place to go. The Township will identify the location of the centre based on a number of factors including the type, time, location, and size of the event. The Township has agreements with a number of facilities that may be used for this purpose. We do not have a set “muster point” or “meeting point” because there is a possibility a particular facility may be unsafe or inaccessible following an emergency. Please check our website and social media channels for instruction. Evacuation staff will also provide this information if you are notified.

4. What does it mean to go to “higher ground?”

Based on regional modelling, higher ground is considered four metres or 13 feet above sea level in most of the Capital Region. Please review CRD information on this topic: Modelling of Potential Tsunami Inundation Limits and Run-Up Project

5. Why didn’t I hear the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt sirens?

The sirens are property of the Department of National Defense and the Township has no authority or jurisdiction to activate them. Local authorities received information from Emergency Management BC to begin undertaking evacuations of low lying areas and Esquimalt did so until the warning was cancelled. CFB Esquimalt posted a response to this question on January 23, 2018 via Facebook:  

In close consultation with Emergency Management BC along with data gathered from other sources such as the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it was assessed that the threat to Victoria was not imminent and that continued monitoring of effects farther north up the coast would give us ample time to sound the alarm if necessary.

It is important to note that the sirens are intended for base personnel ONLY and not Township residents. They are also used for ANY emergency on the base, not just a tsunami. Therefore, a siren does not mean you need to evacuate, it may mean that you need to shelter in place in your home or it may not impact the Township at all. We do benefit from the sirens by knowing something is happening, but it is important to check what type of emergency is occurring and what actions to take. 

6. Where can I go for more information?

The Township regularly hosts free information sessions on topics related to emergency preparedness. Learn more about upcoming information sessions here