This tsunami siren on Chesterman Beach was one of three that began wailing Friday morning as part of the District of Tofino’s monthly emergency notification testing. (Photo - Andrew Bailey)

VIDEO: Tsunami siren testing sounds off in Tofino

Tourists appreciate loud beach alert.

Westminster Chimes rang out over Tofino’s beaches this morning as the district tested its emergency notification system.

Tofino has tested it’s tsunami sirens on the first Friday of every month for the past two years and today was the first of its monthly One Call notification system testing, which provides a phone call, text message and email to locals who have signed up through the district’s website at www.tofino.ca.

The district added its One Call system to its monthly testing as part of its efforts to upgrade local emergency notification after a Tsunami Warning evacuated the community on Jan. 23.

“It’s important to exercise these systems to make sure that they’re working effectively and also to bring general awareness of emergency preparedness within our community,” Tofino’s emergency program coordinator Keith Orchiston told the Westerly News from the district’s Emergency Operations Centre above the Tofino Fire Hall Friday morning.

At 11 a.m. a booming voice belted out “This is a test of the emergency warning system,” from the district’s three sirens—located at Cox Bay, South-Chesterman and North-Chesterman—before the Westminster Chimes kicked in.

Aleah Rockwell was visiting Tofino from Cochrane, Alberta, and said she heard and appreciated the siren.

“I think it’s a really good thing. It makes me feel more safe to know that it’s going on and that we’re looked after,” she told the Westerly News at North Chesterman. “It’s a really good idea.”

Miranda Peterson of Calgary was happy to see efforts being made to warn beach goers.

“It’s good that they’re looking out for tourists and they’re not just looking after their own,” she said

“People might not have their phones when they’re on the beach, so it’s really nice that they’re really taking care of everybody and nobody’s left behind.”

Ucluelet local Danny Osborne was getting his wetsuit on to head out for a surf when he heard the siren.

“Given recent tsunami warnings, I think it’s really good that they have that implemented because, I think, it gives everyone peace of mind when they’re out surfing,” he said.

Vancouver’s Daryn Cassie said he was pulling into Chesterman’s parking lot when he heard the siren’s “big boomy voice” telling him the test was over.

“I think its a good thing to have at the beach,” he said. “It’s good to be prepared for these types of emergencies.”

The district’s manager of community sustainability Aaron Rodgers said all three sirens sounded off during the test and that the One Call System sent out 905 phone calls, 620 emails and 293 text messages.

“We’re happy with the first roll out of the double testing,” he said.

He added that locals should sign up for the One Call system rather than depend on the sirens to alert them of an emergency.

“The sirens were developed and installed to notify people outside, specifically beach users,” he said. “If you’re inside your house, or if it’s windy, you may not get that notification so we encourage everybody to sign up for that One Call system.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail ventures online to inspire self-isolators

“Because of COVID-19, we could not do in-person naturalist programs.”

UPDATE: Highway 4 reopens after police incident near Port Alberni

Highway between Port Alberni and the West Coast was briefly closed in both directions

Tofino restaurateur pays landlord’s generosity forward to Hospital Foundation

Coronavirus pandemic cancels foundation’s largest annual fundraiser

Surfrider Pacific Rim: Celebrating SonBird’s dedication to the Coast

West Coast recycling centre continues to serve thanks to an open-air depot and new regulations.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues wolf advisory

Frequent sightings reported around Long Beach area.

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

Most Read