Be Prepared Not Scared For Emergencies

The recent magnitude 9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster in Japan was a dramatic and stark reminder that the world around us, as we know it, can change in an instant. Such an event should not scare us but rather act as the firmest reminder that we need to prepare. The Port Alberni Port Authority has extensive emergency procedures and policies familiar to all staff. The Port encourages other organizations, businesses, groups and, certainly, families to create their own emergency preparedness kits and plans.
The British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program is a terrific resource to learn about particular emergencies, how to prepare and appropriately respond. We encourage you to get more information on how to prepare your office and home by visiting The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District also provides great information and local advice under the “Community Services” tab on their website:
Of particular concern for the Port Authority is awareness and preparedness for fishermen and boaters that are moored in our local marinas and ply the waters of the Alberni Inlet. Although sourced from our neighbours to the south, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Oregon State University publish a brochure titled “Tsunami Awareness for Fishermen and Mariners.” Given the west coast of North America’s geography and geology we are at risk of threats created by distant and local earthquakes; both of which may cause significant damage and tsunamis in our region. While the primary difference may be the time available to react it is important to respond calmly but without delay.
NOAA advises mariners that, in the event of an earthquake and impending tsunami, boaters at sea should head to a depth of at least 50 fathoms and be prepared to be on the water for an unknown amount of time. You should preserve fuel and conserve your water and other provisions while listening to your radio for further instructions; particularly when it may be safe to re-enter port. Keep in mind that you and your vessel also may become important to assist in rescue and response efforts while either out at sea or back in port.
If you happen to be in port or close to port listen to the local tsunami warning systems for instructions. You will not likely have enough time to boat to the recommended depths. Instead, it is strongly advised that you get yourself to high ground above the inundation zone. This means immediately leaving your boat as soon as safe to do so, if moored, or if you are just underway in the water, run your vessel ashore and get to high ground.
We understand that your family will always be concerned for your well-being whenever you are out on the water and even more so in the event of a natural disaster. Please develop a family communications plan that includes a common contact outside of the region that would likely be unaffected in the case of such an event. Use this number for all family members to call to assist with making appropriate connections.
As a final thought, the Port Alberni Port Authority congratulates and commends the Alberni Twinning Society and everyone that came out to support their April 2nd fundraiser to provide relief to the victims of the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami and raising local awareness of our own needs to prepare.