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British Columbia rolls out new tsunami alert process


The magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck near Haida Gwaii on Oct. 27.
The magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck near Haida Gwaii on Oct. 27.

Staff writers

November 13, 2012 — The B.C. government launches a new emergency tsunami notification alert system, a little over two weeks after a magnitude 7.7 quake struck near Haida Gwaii.

The British Columbia government has rolled out a new public tsunami warning system.

The announcement was made Monday, just over two weeks after a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck off the coast of Haida Gwaii - with no tsunami alert or advisory issued by B.C. emergency officials until almost an hour later.

That quake struck Oct. 27 at around 8:04 p.m. PT. Environment Canada and the United States' West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre issued tsunami warnings, but Emergency Info B.C. did not issue any public advisory until 8:55 p.m. PT, via a tweet from its twitter feed.

Under the new system announced Monday, when Emergency Management BC receives a tsunami alert from West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre, it will immediately email it to a list of local authorities and first responders, as well as provincial media outlets.

It will also be immediately posted on social media via Twitter, and on the Emergency Info B.C. website.

The B.C. government has also added other information sources,  including:

  • A mobile version of Emergency Info B.C.'s blog 
  • An RSS app for smartphones
  • Approved partner twitter accounts that can be retweeted to followers while B.C. specific information is being confirmed.
  • Digital audio recordings of tsunami warnings posted online.

The B.C. government says it's also developing an interactive, publicly accessible map of tsunami warning zones, including a community finder.

Here's how you can sign up for tsunami warnings:
  • Follow @NWS_WCATWC and @EmergencyInfoBC on Twitter
  • Text "follow NWS_WCATWC" and "follow EmergencyInfoBC" to 21212 for SMS updates
  • Get more detailed instructions for signing up for Twitter SMS alerts: http://ow.ly/f8slJ
  • Visit www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca for the latest emergency information.
  • Set your smartphone app that manages RSS notifications to include Emergency Info B.C.'s blog feed: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/atom.xml

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