On January 23nd, 2017, many Southern Vancouver Island residents were awoken to a Tsunami warning at 3:00am following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska. However, many residents slept through the alert, if they were alerted at all. Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD Lab spoke with CHEK news about the importance of preparedness in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, both at the individual and policy level.
In interviews, Dr. Cox raised the point that while the systems that are in place work, we need to do more to be prepared for these types of events. She suggests having an emergency kit at home but to also consider having one in your vehicle or at work as well. Beyond this, Dr. Cox reminds us that being prepared “includes having emergency kits, having a plan, knowing where to evacuate to, and knowing what sort of risk areas [you’re] in.”
While sirens were used to alert residents in different parts of Vancouver Island, adding more sirens to risk areas may be a beneficial step forward following this tsunami scare. As Dr. Cox explains, “We have many examples in other parts of the province and in the world where sirens are used really effectively to warn people. They have to be accompanied by education and awareness campaigns so people understand what the sirens are for and what to do in response to them.”
Dr. Cox also highlights that the fear of panic around implementing sirens or alert systems actually falls into a myth as to how people typically respond to disaster. As she explains, “We do know that in disasters, most people do not panic, there’s not this movie version of mass panic when a disaster happens. People tend to help each other, they tend to listen to orders and information when they have it.” Therefore, including information or education awareness with the implementation of siren and alert systems could be a positive step forward on Vancouver Island, following this tsunami scare.
You can see the full versions of Dr. Robin Cox’s interviews by clicking the following links;