Tofino mulls tsunami siren testing

Tofino is looking into whether sounding tsunami sirens during non-emergencies would be a sound strategy.

During last week’s regular council meeting in Tofino, Coun. Cathy Thicke pushed for Tofino’s tsunami sirens to be tested and heard within Tofino on a regular basis.

She suggested hearing the sirens being tested regularly would help increase Tofino’s emergency preparedness and decrease potential panic.

The district’s manager of community sustainability Aaron Rodgers said he tests the sirens every week but these tests are done quietly so as not to cause undue alarm.

Rodgers said Tofino is working with other Vancouver Island communities with tsunami sirens to come up with a test sound that would be used Island-wide so communities know not to panic when testing takes place.

“We want to make sure Island-wide that we’re consistent in our messaging,” he said.

Coun. Thicke suggested a test sound may not be the right route to take and that she would prefer to hear the real thing. “It’s also really important that we as a community are not panicked when we hear that,” she said.

“It’s a reminder to me ‘do I have that grab and go (kit)?’…It’s a reminder to the kids growing up here that we can’t just rest on laurels and then have a panic.”

She said the community should be able to hear the actual siren during tests but the district would need to heavily publicize when these tests were taking place.

Coun. Greg Blanchette agreed but suggested the test siren could be distinct from the actual emergency siren by using an interrupted wail rather than a continuous alarm.

“I concur strongly with what Coun. Thicke is saying. I think if we heard those sirens every month then we would be a lot more cognizant that we’re in an earthquake zone and of our own preparedness or lack thereof,” he said.

“I think that would go a long way toward raising people’s consciousness on a frequent basis…If we had a full volume test you would know where you could hear the sirens from and where you couldn’t.” Rodgers suggested the ability to hear the sirens in different areas of town changes with wind patterns and said the district is currently looking into installing additional sirens.

The district currently has two tsunami sirens and any additional sirens would cost about $80,000 including installation, according to Rodgers.

Coun. Duncan McMaster, who attended the meeting by phone, spoke against sounding the alarm when no alarm is needed.

“I’m not really in favour of having a test monthly,” he said.

“I think people get lulled into a false sense of security and when the sirens actually do go off for a valid concern people lose time wondering ‘is this a test or is it not a test.'” A decision on whether, and how, to test the sirens in a way that would be heard by locals was not reached but district discussions on the issue are expected to continue. reporter@westerlynews.ca

Just Posted

120 West Coast kids rock Bruhwiler Surf Classic in Tofino

“Surfing is a gift of this place.”

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Vancouver Island partners sign hull design contract for floating LNG project

Steelhead LNG and partner Huu-ay-aht First Nations say the agreement was signed in Barcelona

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Students asked about the positive effects of residential schools

Alberta’s education minister apologized after hearing about the online social studies course

Permit to give B.C. deer birth control on hold until consultation with First Nations

Complexity of consultation will depend on level of First Nations support for the project

Most Read