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Intern helps point the way to safety on Haida Gwaii

December 8, 2016
MADEM student Carmin Moore

People on Haida Gwaii know earthquakes and tsunamis are part of life on these islands, which sit just north of a triple junction of powerful fault lines. Planning for these emergencies is a priority there.

As part of that preparation, Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management student Carmin Moore is working to help people on the archipelago quickly find their way to safety during a tsunami.

Moore has been awarded a $15,000 internship by the province of British Columbia as part of a project to mark utility poles on Haida Gwaii showing both tsunami inundation zones and places of safety.

“Some communities have some mapping of inundation zones, but not all,” Moore says from her office in the village of Queen Charlotte. “There are signs in some places, but they don’t map out where it is safe to be. The plan is to have some visual indicators of where exactly the inundation and safe zones are and there will be arrows pointing which way to go to safety.”

The project is a collaboration between local First Nations and municipal governments, the province, BC Hydro and Telus.

Moore says painting the poles will make the information more visible to visitors and residents. It will also stop people from stealing the signs, which has been an ongoing issue on the islands.

Preparation like this is crucial in emergency situations to prevent injuries and deaths, she says.

“Unfortunately Haida Gwaii does have a history of seismic activity and researchers have indicated there will be lots more to come,” she says. “It’s pretty awesome to be involved in a project that could potentially save lives. It’s very humbling and honouring to be a part of this.”

Moore is responsible for mapping the inundation and safe zones for the project, helping to design the painting stencils and researching the paint to use to make sure the markings last in Haida Gwaii’s weather.

Moore will round out her three-month internship by producing an implementation plan for the pole marking project. She says this project has given her experience in the field and a further appreciation for what she has already learned.

“This project is really in line with a lot of the key principles we are learning at Royal Roads,” Moore says. “Not only is this a preparedness project, but it is also a prevention program, to prevent fatality and injury. So it’s implementing a lot of those key ideologies practically in the field.”