Emergency Preparedness




The Alert Ready system will be able to send messages to wireless devices in BC effective April 6, 2018.

Tuesday, April 3 ~ BC. Effective April 6, 2018, emergency alerts in British Columbia issued through the national Alert Ready program can also be sent to compatible wireless devices, such as smartphones, to ensure more people have the information they need to act quickly in an emergency.

To find out if your wireless device is compatible with the Alert Ready system, visit: www.AlertReady.ca

Wireless alerts will be publicly tested for the first time in BC on May 9, 2018, at 1:55 p.m. (Pacific time), alongside routine television and radio tests. Emergency Management BC (EMBC) is the sole agency responsible for issuing emergency notifications on the Alert Ready system in the province, and will initially issue such alerts for tsunami threats only. The Province is considering expanding the use of Alert Ready beyond tsunamis to include other hazards and emergencies in the future.

“Accurate and timely information in an emergency situation can save lives and livelihoods, and we need to deploy every tool available to alert people of potential public safety threats,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “As technology improves, we are always looking for new ways to broaden our reach and reduce the time it takes to communicate critical safety information. Wireless alerts will help us achieve both of those objectives.”

Wireless alerts will contain instructions for a safe response, and all British Columbians are urged to abide by these instructions without delay. In order to receive alerts, mobile phones must be connected to a cellular network, be alert-compatible and within the alert area. They will be broadcast automatically at no cost to the user. Wireless-compatibility information is available at: www.alertready.ca

“Wireless alerts are a welcome addition to our current alerting tools,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “These alerts will complement the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS), social media and, at the community level, sirens, subscription-based text message alerts and other mechanisms,” says Rice.

“As the Province continues to refine its emergency management system, it is equally important that all British Columbians take their own steps to prepare by understanding the risks where they live and work, creating an emergency plan and assembling an emergency kit,” Rice said.

The National Public Alerting System (NPAS), publicly branded as Alert Ready, is a collaborative initiative between federal-provincial-territorial governments and industry partners. It provides a standard alerting capability to rapidly warn the public of imminent or unfolding hazards to life.

Currently, in accordance with a 2014 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision, all radio and television broadcasters in Canada are mandated to broadcast public alerts. On April 6, 2017, the CRTC mandated wireless service providers to be capable of sending wireless public alerts in Canada by April 6, 2018.

Emergency Management BC will conduct a test of Alert Ready on March 21, 2018 at 1:55 pm PDT.

Tuesday, March 20 ~ BC.  There will be a test of the BC Emergency Alerting System at 1:55 pm PDT on March 21, 2018.

The test is being conducted by Emergency Management BC.

This is part of a Canada-wide Alert-Ready system that allows government officials to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters. This system will only be used during large-scale disasters or emergencies where loss of life is imminent and possible.

Please note that text messages will NOT be tested at this time. Testing of wireless alerts will begin in May 2018.

You can currently expect to receive emergency alerts via Canadian radio and TV, cable and satellite operators.

Alert Ready is a Canada-wide program that allows government officials in each province and territory to issue emergency alerts.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 ~ There was a small earthquake at 10:57 pm on south Vancouver Island last night, Saturday February 3. First called a 2.7 quake by Natural Resources Canada Geological Survey of Canada, then upgraded to 2.8 Magnitude, there were no reports of damage, and none would be expected. The quake occurred at 19 km east of Sidney where it was lightly felt, as well as being felt throughout the Saanich Peninsula, Victoria, and Sooke.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 ~ A tsunami warning was issued for most of the west and north coasts of Vancouver Island following a 8.1 quake off the coast of Alaska. Due to the quake producing horizontal motion instead of vertical, waves were not pushed up in a way as to cause a major wave. The tsunami warning that went into effect six minutes after the 1:32 am quake was soon cancelled at 4:12 am.


Friday, March 31, 2017 ~ New tsunami siren warning system for the Port Renfrew area. See article in March 31, 2017 West Shore Voice News, page 1.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017  ~ South Vancouver Island. Snowfall is forecasted to develop mid-afternoon today February 8, increasing this evening.

Snowfall over the Pacific Marine Route (including Sooke Road / Hwy 14 / West Coast Road), Lake Cowichan and the Malahat may be quite heavy, as well as featuring some freezing rain.

Mainroad South Island winter operations will be in effect on all highways. That includes additional personnel and equipment. The priority is highways, bus routes and school bus routes as well as main corridor roads. Side roads are done after that. Clearing access for police, fire and ambulance gets priority. Motorists are reminded to drive safely around highway maintenance vehicles.

Snow-on-Cars-webTuesday, February 7 ~ WEST SHORE of VANCOUVER ISLAND.  A few weather-related tips have been issued by Juan de Fuca Emergency Program Coordinator Jeri Grant:

“Make sure your vehicle is completely clear of ice or snow before starting the trip. Flying snow from cars causes accidents.

People really need to slow down when driving in this kind of weather/conditions and be mindful children are not at school and will be out playing in the snow, sometimes on the road.

The trees are weighed down with snow so be prepared for possible power outages, make sure your mobile phone and electronics are fully charged. If you see downed power lines stay back 10 m (30 feet) and call BC Hydro Call 1 800 BCHYDRO (1 800 224 9376) or *HYDRO (*49376) on your mobile.”


quakedec2915-injan0116wsv-webWednesday, December 28 ~ BC.  It’s coming up to one year that the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands experienced an earthquake — it came at 11:39 pm on December 29, 2016.

The 4.7 Magnitude quake occurred 8 km ESE of Sidney (17 km NNE of Victoria). As quakes go, it was deep — between 53 and 59 km below the surface. No tsunami warning was issued.

The quake was felt as far east as the Fraser Valley in the BC interior and as far south as Washington State. Shaking in the Sooke area lasted for about 10 seconds. No damage was reported and “none would be expected” said seismic officials.

To mark the one-year anniversary of that event which was a preparedness wakeup call for many, some earthquake preparedness information and tips have been released by Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness.

See longer article with links to emergency preparedness websites, on our VANCOUVER ISLAND page.


Wednesday, December 28 ~ SOUTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. Mainroad South Island Contracting advises motorists to drive with caution today as many locations are encountering black ice. They suggest allowing extra time for travel and to use caution. Mainroad says that crews have been actively treating these areas around the clock to minimize any problems.

wsv-mpoweroutages-webTuesday, December 20 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND SOUTH. In conditions of high winds, trees are down across BC Hydro wires. That and other wind-related issues currently see power out in the Langford and Sooke areas as well as Ganges Island.In the Sooke area, about 1,217 customers are affected across various areas including west of Otter Point Rd (out since 4:29 am, crews expected to arrive around 7:30 am), and southwest of Sooke Road east of Sea Lion Way (out since 5:06 am, crews have been assigned).Power is also out in Langford (since 5:26 am) with crews expected to arrive around 7:30 am in an area affected north of Monnington Place, south of Jenkins Ave, west of Jacklin Road, and East of Colbourne, affecting 230 customers. www.bchydro.com

Emergency Readiness:

On Vancouver Island we should be prepared for 7 days of self-sufficiency following any major disaster.

Some experts suggest even better prepared for 14 days on Vancouver Island ~ in the case of a megathrust quake, supplies and services from the BC mainland may not be available.

platemovement-cascadiasubductionzone-nrc-webFor a succinct summary of earthquake info and preparedness, see our Earthquake & Tsunami Feature in the Oct 28, 2016 issue of West Shore Voice News (page 3).

  • Food supply chains will likely be interrupted (planes, ferries, trucking). Grocery stores are likely to have only two to three days of supply if no incoming shipments are available. Have plenty of canned and dried foods in storage as well as bottled water.
  • Communications will likely be interrupted. There may not be phone, Internet or wireless services at various times. A battery-operated radio is a key component of your emergency kit. To keep mobile phones charged, have a battery backup device.
  • Electrical service may be interrupted. Keep solar-generated equipment on hand, as well as generator if you have the space for it. Have a supply of batteries of various sizes, to support various items such as flashlights and radios.
  • Financial systems may be interrupted. Keep small bills and coins in your emergency kit. ATMs may not be working, and web-banking could be unavailable.
  • Pets are ‘people’ too. Be sure to have additional supplies for your pet on hand.
  • Have a plan.  Know who you will tell that you’re either okay or in need of help. Get one of the red/green (help/ok) signs for both your car and your home.  Share a plan with family and anyone you’re responsible for as to where to go/meet in the case of a disaster.
  • Gasoline supply may be interrupted. If trucks can’t get to the island, then gasoline supplies may run low. Keep your vehicle fueled up to 3/4-full at all times.
  • For more information: www.prepareyourself.ca

Earthquake Archive:


Some recent regional earthquake news:

  • BC.  Friday, October 21, 2016. 4:19 pm PDT.  Magnitude 3.2 at 30 km NE of Fernie BC. Felt.
  • YUKON. Saturday October 08, 2016. 19:28 PDT Preliminary Magnitude 4.3 at 64.8 North, 133 West (148 km ENE of Keno, YT). Not felt.There are no reports of damage, and none would be expected.
  • YUKON. Saturday October 01, 2016. 16:34 PDT. Preliminary Magnitude 4.2 at 64.87 North, 133.68 West (132 km ENE of Keno, in the southern Yukon territory). No reports of damage, and none would be expected.
  • BC. Thursday September 22, 2016. 12:07 PDT. Preliminary Magnitude 2.9. about 14 km east of Vernon, BC. No reports of damage, and none would be expected. Lightly felt in Vernon, Lumby and region.
  • BC. Saturday September 17, 2016. 3:36 pm PDT. Off-shore Vancouver Island.  Magnitude 3.9. At a depth of about 10 km.

For daily quake reports, see:

Earthquakes Canada