Earthquake safety strengthened in B.C. with new early warning sensors

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Jan 26, 2023 – BC Government News

Across Canada, natural disasters like floods, landslides, wildfires and earthquakes are affecting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, along with Bowinn Ma, British Columbia Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, announced that British Columbia is installing up to 50 earthquake early warning sensors in high seismic risk areas. These sensors will connect to the national Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system that will be operational in 2024, supplementing and complementing several hundred sensors already installed by Natural Resources Canada.

The system will give seconds to tens of seconds of warning before the strongest shaking arrives at coastal communities in British Columbia and will assist in the protection of critical transportation infrastructure in British Columbia. In the spring of 2022, the first sensors for the national EEW system were installed at the BC Ferries’ terminal at Horseshoe Bay as part of a suite of initiatives being brought forward by the Government of Canada to strengthen the safety, security and resilience of Canada’s emergency readiness infrastructure.

“The Cascadia Megathrust Earthquake that occurred on January 26, 1700, was one of the world’s strongest earthquakes, causing widespread destruction to coastal Indigenous communities and producing a tsunami that swept across the Pacific Ocean. An early earthquake warning system is critical to our ability to help British Columbians mitigate the impacts of another major seismic event. By installing these sensors, we will help provide critical seconds of notice in the event of an earthquake, so that people, businesses and automated systems can take protective action,” said Bowinn Ma, British Columbia’s Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

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