Taking real action to protect Canadians: Enhancing Environment Canada’s Early Warning System
The Government of Canada is taking real action to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. Environment Canada’s role in the Tsunami Warning System begins when the BC Provincial Emergency Program advises Environment Canada to start the dissemination of information. Once that happens, Environment Canada’s meteorological staff will activate transmission of the tsunami warning or watch on weather dissemination systems, including the Weatheroffice website, Automated Telephone Answering Devices, Media Weather Services website, and the Weatheradio network, which now includes a new Weatheradio on Mount Ozzard.
A tsunami warning or watch will be either a text or voice message (depending on the type of communication service) advising that the BC Provincial Emergency Program has issued a tsunami warning or watch.
Weatheradio Canada is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting weather and environmental information 24 hours a day in both English and French directly from Environment Canada's Storm Prediction Centres. The broadcast consists of up-to-the minute weather watches and warnings, weather observations, and the latest public and marine forecasts (where applicable).
From its inception in 1977, the network has expanded to 180 locations across the country, transmitting continuous weather information on seven dedicated frequencies on the VHF public service band along with regular AM and FM bands in selected areas. Now, 92 per cent of Canadians can access a Weatheradio signal.
Weatheradio is one way that the general public can take responsibility for their personal safety. Individuals can purchase Weatheradios that can be programmed to receive a specific tone from Environment Canada broadcasting stations when a tsunami warning or watch is issued. Weatheradio receivers behave like smoke detectors, silently monitoring and then alerting the public to the initial warning message, providing more time to respond to the event. Some models activate flashing warning lights and bed vibrators for the sight and hearing impaired.
In recent years, Environment Canada has made a significant improvement to the Weatheradio network by adding the capability to broadcastfor specific geographic locations, making weather warnings even more tailored to local conditions. It also allows listeners to program their Weatheradio receivers to deliver weather warnings, watches and other information such as tsunami warnings, which are now part of the information being broadcast on the west and east coasts.
For more information about Weatheradio, please check: www.ec.gc.ca/meteo-weather/.
The Weatheroffice website is the federal government’s most popular website. It provides Canadians with internet access to Environment Canada's weather information 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Weatheroffice gives users easy access to current weather warnings, forecasts, satellite and radar imagery, weather maps and more. It accounts for 40 per cent of the Government of Canada’s website traffic. In early 2007, the site averaged more than 675,000 visits every day, an increase of 150,000 over 2005.
The Weatheroffice website is available at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca.
Environment Canada's Media Weather website
Environment Canada has a free weather service dedicated to serving the ever-changing needs of Canadian news media. The Media Weather website service http://media.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/index_e.html provides media with timely access to quality and up-to-date weather information including weather warnings issued for the cities they have selected.
With information automatically refreshed every five minutes, this service enables media to receive data tailored to meet their needs directly from the Environment Canada. It offers independent media-only access ensuring that media receive continuous, uninterrupted real-time access to weather information.
The Media Weather website features include 24/7: weather alerts; current conditions; public forecasts; satellite, radar and lightning imagery; marine forecasts and ice information. Media weather warnings use Canadian Association of Broadcasters warning protocols.
Automatic Telephone Answering Devices
Environment Canada lists phone numbers in the Blue Pages of the telephone book for basic weather information. This service provides recorded weather information, updated with current conditions and forecasts.
Clients in communities within the local toll-free zone (85 per cent of the population) have access to the service at no charge. Clients outside the free local calling zone must pay the long-distance charges applied by their telephone companies.
With 33 million calls per year, this system is one of the largest telephone services of its kind in Canada.
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