Strahl Announces Improvements to BC’s Early Warning System: Tsunami Warnings to Protect the Safety of British Columbians
VANCOUVER, May 22, 2008– The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians today announced that the Government of Canada is taking further action to protect the safety of British Columbians by adding a Tsunami warning and watch to the Weatheradio system for Vancouver Island.
“Ensuring the safety and security of Canadians is a top priority for our Government,” said Minister Strahl. “Today announcement means we are enhancing our early warning system to meet the needs of British Columbia. By instituting a tsunami warning system we will ensure those living on the coast are kept informed of every possible situation so they can make the right decisions to protect their families.”
“During an emergency every second counts, and the enhancement of the existing BC Tsunami Warning System announced today could mean the difference between life and death,” said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "We are giving Canadians the tools needed to help protect their health, their safety and their personal property.”
With a newly installed Weatheradio station in place on Mount Ozzard, residents and visitors to the communities of Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield will be able to receive Weatheradio broadcasts on their Weatheradio receivers. By early July 2008, the broadcast capability will also be available to the BC Provincial Emergency Program for use as part of its tsunami warning notification system.
“While tsunamis are rare, we want to be sure British Columbia is prepared in the event one occurs along our coast,” said BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General John van Dongen. “This system extends the coverage of British Columbia’s tsunami warning system providing greater protection for visitors and residents along British Columbia’s coastline.”
When Environment Canada meteorological staff receive notification of a tsunami warning from the BC Provincial Emergency Program, they 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.
Environment Canada currently uses this same technology to issue severe weather warnings and watches to government agencies, the media and the public.
A tsunami warning or watch carried on Environment Canada’s networks 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 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.
The enhancement of the existing BC Tsunami Warning System announced today is the result of a high degree of collaboration between federal, provincial and local agencies led by the BC Provincial Emergency Program, Environment Canada and Public Safety Canada, including the essential participation and work from the Canadian Coast Guard.
For more information:
To learn more about visit Environment Canada’s weather dissemination systems visit the web site at: http://www.msc.ec.gc.ca/weather/contents_e.html
For more information about the British Columbia Tsunami Warning System, visit the Provincial Emergency Program’s Web site at: www.pep.bc.ca.
Taking real action to protect Canadians: Enhancing Environment Canada’s Early Warning System [2008-05-22, Backgrounder]
For media inquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Environment Canada Media Relations
BC Provincial Emergency Program
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