The City of Nanaimo has completed a Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment to better prepare the community for the type of hazards that could affect us. As well as identifying the hazards, the assessment told us what risk the hazard poses, the likelihood of the incident occurring and shows us what we can do to eliminate or reduce the affect of the hazard.
The Province of British Columbia has identified 56 potential threats. The City of Nanaimo Hazard Risk and Vulnerability assessment identified 22 serious local threats named in the study. City of Nanaimo's Emergency Response and Recovery Plan is based on these 22 hazards as identified by the Hazard Assessment. Fire is listed as the number one threat however with changing demographics, an increase in transportation, new highways increased traffic through our Port, Hazardous Materials and Transportation Incidents have become high in probability and are now considered a high threat to our community.
Tsunamis are low in probability on the hazard list although some minor flooding can occur with a rise in sea level of 1-3 metres. The east coast of Vancouver Island in affected minimally in tsunami events compared to other parts of Vancouver Island. Other factors during Tsunami events can affect the degree of flooding the City experiences. The City has completed studies to analyze areas flooded in the remote event that its dams should fail following an earthquake or other disaster. These maps are used to determine the hazard rating of the dams, in accordance with the Provincial Dam Safety Regulation as well as to plan for emergency preparedness. These maps show inundation areas that are a result of total dam failure – an event that is highly unlikely. Even still, the City is in a process to determine seismic vulnerability of its dams, and to plan for upgrades to minimize downstream damage. For example, during the early summer of 2008, the City seismically stabilized Westwood Lake dam – a 100 year old structure. Should a large-magnitude earthquake occur, the dam is expected to slump, but the upgrade would slow the release of water to a manageable level.