Last year the City of Victoria unveiled an alert system for emergency notifications called Vic-Alert. It allowed people to register their phone numbers and email addresses to receive warnings, updates and instruction from Emergency Management Victoria in the case of disaster.
In the 24 hours since a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska causing a tsunami warning for all of Vancouver Island, more than 20,000 people have registered their contact information. However this won’t help those living outside the geographic area of Victoria, meaning residents in neighbouring municipalities are now asking why there isn’t a wider system in place.
We asked our readers to provide their feedback and this is a sampling of what they had to say:
Each of these communities tailor their notification systems differently, but what about other more densely populated areas like Sooke, Saanich and the west shore communities of Langford, Colwood and View Royal?
First responders in Oak Bay staged evacuation teams and were ready to go door-to-door with evacuation announcements. They also set up a reception area for potential evacuees, but the municipality chose not go ahead with any evacuation, although they are home to two low-lying areas near McNeill Bay and Willows Beach.
Esquimalt’s emergency preparedness team was ready to receive evacuees, but no one showed up. Residents there tend to rely on CFB Esquimalt to alert them of danger, and since the sirens did not sound many people did not know about the threat until they woke up the following day.
Meanwhile Saanich has previously looked into options for a public notification system, but officials say there are limits to these systems as they’re subscriber-based and could cause greater panic in the event of a false-alarm like Tuesday.
View Royal and Colwood are also looking into some kind of system that could potentially be in place by the end of 2018.