09-02-2008, 02:19 PM #1
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Tofino to install tsunami-alert alarms
I was kinda wondering how many oceanside locations have air horn warning devices like this, or is it more of "something from Yesteryear"?
Tofino to install tsunami-alert alarms. After failed efforts for funding, town to do the job itself
Rob Shaw, Times Colonist Published: Tuesday, September 02, 2008
The seaside town of Tofino is installing air raid-like sirens to let surfers, campers and local residents know when a tsunami is headed their way.
Tofino will spend $75,000 on at least two sirens, after trying unsuccessfully to get matching government funding for the project the past two years, said Mayor John Fraser. Testing will start next week, Fraser said.
"We've given up the chance we'll get help," he said. "We wanted to have five for the waterfront."
Located on the west side of Vancouver Island, Tofino stands at risk of a tsunami generated by earthquakes as far away as Asia.
Of particular risk are subduction zones just east of Tofino, where an earthquake would trigger a tsunami that would hit the tourist area within 20 minutes, Fraser said.
The sirens will warn people to get out of the water, away from their campsites and seek higher ground, Fraser said.
Tofino has long called for a siren system. In June 2005, a tsunami warning forced firefighters to physically go door-to-door to warn people of the threat, reported the Westcoaster.ca news website. Later that year, Port Alberni, which was swamped a tsunami in 1964, became the first municipality in B.C. to install warning sirens.
The province pledged $1 million, and the federal government $850,000, to help coastal communities prepare for a tsunami in 2005. At the time, provincial emergency officials warned Tofino they might have to rely on a "natural warning" of shaking instead of sirens.
Fraser said Tofino has since had multiple grant requests rejected. "All these grant programs have stipulations about this, that and the other thing, and for some reason communication or warning stuff wasn't funded," he said.
"We hadn't been able to get any [money] in two years so we figured we'd do some [sirens] rather than none."
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008
As a matter of interest, October 1997, HMCS CALGARY was deployed to Port Alberni for a four day disaster relief exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to identify the potential ability of a warship (frigate in this case) to be able to provide essential power, manpower and other resources to an isolated village or town in the event of a natural disaster. We found that with a crew of 225 (standard compliment) and something close to our regular load of stores and equipment, we could provide assistance for about 72 hrs. After that point we would be exhausted both in physical resources and manpower. It could be done, but it would be tough work.
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