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.”

Just Posted

10th annual Tofino Saltwater Classic embraces catch and release format for Chinook prizes

Fundraising fishing derby has raised over $500,000 for community initiatives since its inception.

Courtenay-Alberni Greens name Sean Wood as federal candidate

Nomination meeting took place June 15 at Hupacasath Hall in Port Alberni

Musings from surfers about surfboards

“I tried to make it so it was easy to get into waves and not too floaty so you could duck dive it.”

Tla-o-qui-aht board fish farms to obtain video footage of pens

Fish farms were boarded under the authority of the Tla-o-qui-aht Hereditary Chief Ray Seitcher.

Tofino Jazz Festival returns this weekend

“The Festival’s main mission is to provide an opportunity to build community through music.”

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read