6.8 Natural Hazards – copy

Natasha Birsa

Natural Hazards


  • British Columbia is located in a seismically active region where a few thousand earthquakes occur each year in and adjacent to the province
  • Survival Kit: Campbell River & Port McNeill offices are required to evacuate and report to the muster location and then proceed uphill from the ocean.
  • Think about putting together a basic kit for your home and/or car.
    • 72 Hours of food & water, first aid kit, wind-up radio/flashlight, blankets, candles & matches, tarps, bathroom tissue.
  • Once an Earthquake starts:
    • Urban setting
      • Drop to the ground.
      • Take cover under a desk/table or in a door frame.
      • Hold on and stay down for at least 60 seconds.
      • Check for hazards around you prior to evacuating the building.
    • Field setting
      • Duck and cover in the best available spot in your close vicinity – stay away from trees or steep terrain.
      • Gather your crew after the earthquake has stopped, assess for any injuries and return back to the office if possible.
      • Inspect any bridges/wood box culverts that may have been damaged during the quake for safety prior to crossing.
      • You may not be able to initially contact the office as staff will have also evacuated. Allow for enough time for office staff to reorganize for an external communications center (e.g. pickup radio).


  • If you are in a remote camp on the Coast, once the earthquake is over, monitor the Coast Guard channels for Tsunami warnings. If a Tsunami warning has been issued, follow the instructions given by the Coast Guard. If you are near the ocean and feel a large earthquake go inland or to higher ground immediately (this includes Port McNeill & Campbell River).
  • Move to ground that is at least 15 meters above sea level to avoid being in the path of waves running up slope due to the pressure of the ensuing waves.
  • Floating camps are required to have their VHF radios on at all times to alert for Tsunami warnings. Warble (emergency) tones will bypass volume settings in case the radio is turned down.
  • If on a boat with an incoming Tsunami head for deeper and open water, where Tsunami effects are minimal.


Erosion Event / Landslide / Debris Torrent
  • Notify your crew of the situation and leave the area if continuing instability.
  • Return to the marshalling point or an alternate safe location and ensure all others in the operating area are safe.
  • Contact the nearest SNRC Office and the client and inform them of the situation.


  • Be aware that avalanche hazards can be present upslope of your location from the first snows of winter until early summer.
  • Avalanches can initiate high in the alpine and reach to the valley bottom.
  • Site indicators of avalanches are:
    • Gullies and chutes that have been scoured or are vegetated with slide alder and shrubs such as salmonberry and devils club.
    • Broken/damaged trees (smaller trees having only their tops showing damage)
    • Deposition zones consisting of damaged trees and snow with very little dirt/rock.
  • If a potential avalanche hazard has been identified, remove yourself from the hazard area and notify your supervisor. Your supervisor will contact client or project manager to determine if an avalanche risk assessment has been conducted.
  • In the event that a crew member is caught in an avalanche:
    • Assign a leader
    • Call for help
    • Assess the safety of the site
      • Risk of further avalanches
      • Route to safety
    • Determine the number of people missing
    • Identify and mark the ‘last seen point’ of the victims location(s)
    • Determine the search area:
      • Below last seen point
      • In areas of deposition
    • Investigate visual cues – clothing, hard hats, etc.
    • Patient care – treat for hypothermia/shock/injuries