Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Installation of earthquake early warning system at Sooke Fire Station One enhances community safety

By District of Sooke   

Department News News BC emergency preparedness First Responders

Apr. 17, 2024, Sooke, B.C. – Sooke Fire Rescue, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), has announced the installation of an advanced Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system at Sooke Fire Station One. Funded through a NRCan grant, this system bolsters community safety by providing rapid detection and notification of seismic events.

The EEW system utilizes technology to detect earthquakes, estimate shaking hazards in real-time, and promptly notify the public of expected shaking. This advancement offers valuable seconds to tens-of-seconds of notice before strong shaking occurs, significantly reducing the risk of injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

Earthquakes release energy in the form of seismic waves. The EEW system operates by detecting the initial seismic wave, known as the P-wave, which typically poses minimal risk of damage. Seismic sensors strategically placed within the region swiftly detect these P-waves and transmit data to centralized data centers.

At the data centers, computers analyze the seismic data to determine the earthquake’s location, magnitude, and anticipated ground shaking intensity across the affected area. By leveraging this technology, the EEW system can issue timely warnings before the arrival of secondary S-waves, which brings the strong shaking responsible for most commonly earthquake-related damage.


Commenting on the installation, Sooke Fire Rescue Chief Ted Ruiter stated, “The implementation of the Earthquake Early Warning system marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to enhance community resilience and safety. This advanced technology deepens our commitment to proactive disaster preparedness and response.”

This initiative underscores the commitment of NRCan and Sooke Fire Rescue and the District’s Emergency Program to prioritize public safety and strengthen community resilience in the face of natural disasters. Residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the EEW system and heed warnings promptly to ensure their safety and well-being.

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