B.C. Minister of Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto addressed business owners at a Tofino-Long Beach chamber luncheon hosted by the Wickaninnish Inn.

Tofino businesses brush up on emergency preparedness

“Don’t wait for the sirens to go off. Don’t wait for notifications. Don’t wait for a phone call."

NORA O’MALLEY

nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

 

The District of Tofino has set-up a new “One Call Now” emergency notification system. To opt-in to the service, simply text the word ‘Resume’ to 937-240-0720. Standard text messaging rates will apply.

In the event of an emergency or disaster, anyone who subscribes to the service will receive a detailed text message about what happened and what they need to do. 

“It’s not just for tsunamis and earthquakes. It could be for a number of different scenarios,” said Tofino’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator Keith Orchiston, adding that a text message could be sent out for anything that effects highway 4.

In the case of a local earthquake, Orchiston said the shaking is always the warning.

“Don’t wait for the sirens to go off. Don’t wait for notifications. Don’t wait for a phone call. If the ground starts to shake for more than a minute and it’s difficult to stand up, then you need to move to high ground. The highest high ground you can find,” he said.

Tofino’s designated higher ground meeting spot is the Tofino Community Hall. Ucluelet’s is the Secondary School and associated fields.

At a Tofino-Long Beach chamber luncheon on Monday, Orchiston offered business owners advice on how to better prepare for an emergency.

“The sooner people can return to work and have access to goods and services, the sooner the community can move forward,” he said. “A big part of community resilience is having businesses being able to recover quickly.”

Orchiston recommended a user-friendly app called OFB-EZ Mobile that can be downloaded for free from the Apple app store. The digital tool uses eight steps to help employers limit the impacts of a disaster.

“In ten minutes I was able to get through the eight basic elements of a business continuity plan and customize it for my small business. I now have a copy on my phone and a pdf version,” he said.

Orchiston noted in his speech that small and mid-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable in a major disaster.

“The longer a business is sidelined the greater the odds it will never recover. About 80 per cent of businesses that are closed for a month, stay that way,” he said.

Anyone seeking more information on Tofino’s emergency preparedness plan can visit: http://www.tofino.ca/Emergency-Prep.