The Regional District of Nanaimo is identified as low risk for tsunami with estimated wave height of less than 2m above normal sea levels. This may cause some damage to low lying areas but is much different than the West Coast of Vancouver Island where communities are at high risk with catastrophic damage potential from waves of up to 15m. The size of the RDN coastline and number of tsunami sirens needed would be a very expensive undertaking for an advanced warning system for this low risk, low impact situation. The RDN uses more practical and cost effective notification processes such as the RDN Emergency Notification System combined with door to door notification to address this.

Emergency Management BC has a Tsunami Warning and Alerting Plan in place and will convey warnings to our coastal communities as quickly as possible.

For more information on Emergency Management Alerts, please Click Here or follow Emergency Info BC on Twitter


The catastrophic events of the 2004 Southeast Asia earthquake and tsunami shocked the world with its destructive power. This natural disaster has governments of all levels considering more seriously the devastating effects of natural geologic hazards, as many coastal communities are not prepared for such events. The Province has designated funds for affected local authorities along the coast (Georgia Basin and open ocean) to focus on alerting and awareness. Recent events have changed the recommendaton for 72 hours worth of supplies to ONE WEEK. Go to www.embc.gov.bc.ca for further information.

Tsunami WATCH - issued when a serious earthquake has occurred which may have generated a tsunami, and the possible tsunami travel time from the epicenter to any part of the B.C. coast is more than three hours

Tsunami WARNING - issued when evidence is received that a tsunami exists, or when a serious earthquake has occurred that may have caused a tsunami, and the tsunami travel time from the epicenter to any portion of the B.C. coast is three hours or less.

(Do not mistake internet INFORMATION BULLETINS with the above definitions)

Key Information from Tsunami Warning Centers and the Province:

  • Tsunamis are a series of waves generated by underwater earthquakes or landslides.
  • If you are near water (the ocean or a watercourse that is proximal) and feel the earth shake, or see a sudden drop in the ocean level, seek high ground as quickly as possible
  • It is optimal to get 10 meters above sea level
  • Remain at a safe elevation until advised otherwise by emergency officials

Check out Emergency Management BC website for more information.