Signs in Prince Rupert point to a tsunami evacuation route in low-lying areas. (Ed Evans / the Northern View)

Signs in Prince Rupert point to a tsunami evacuation route in low-lying areas. (Ed Evans / the Northern View)

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Some residents along British Columbia’s coastline were woken by tsunami warning sirens early Tuesday morning shortly after an earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska.

Related: Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Related: ‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada:

— British Columbia learns about potential tsunamis from the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center.

— The centre uses seismometers and sea level measuring stations, which send real time data to national and regional warning centres, to determine whether there’s a risk.

— After receiving notice from the U.S., federal and provincial emergency officials assess the information to determine whether it poses a threat to B.C.

— There are five levels of alerts that B.C. can send out: a warning, an advisory, a watch, an information statement and a cancellation.

— A tsunami warning means that a “flood wave” is possible and a full evacuation is suggested.

— An advisory means there will likely be strong currents and people should stay away from the shore.

— A watch means the government does not yet know how dangerous the situation is, and people should stay alert as they wait for more information.

— An information statement means an earthquake has occurred, or that a tsunami warning, watch or advisory has been issued for another section of the ocean. But in most cases, there is no threat of a destructive tsunami.

— A cancellation is issued when there’s no longer a threat.

Related: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Related: Evacuated Tofino and Ucluelet residents head home after Tsunami Warning cancelled

Related: Tsunami warning prompts evacuations in Port Alberni

The Canadian Press

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