LETTER: No need for improvements to emergency information system

Emergency protocol executed perfectly

Dear editor,

I feel it is necessary to respond to the editorial by Terry Farrell suggesting that citizens who were angry that their expectations of warning had not been met with regard to two recent emergency events. One was the recent tsunami warning issued to the West Coast of Vancouver Island and the other was the security threat to a local school.

It is important not to encourage people to have unreasonable expectations that would do more harm than good. In the case of the tsunami warning, every emergency manager on Vancouver Island was alerted immediately and citizens in the threatened communities were warned and evacuations took place. In communities that were not threatened, the emergency managers were in constant contact with Emergency Management B.C. in case the situation changed. It didn’t.

Those who had worried relatives from out of province call them and were then angry that they weren’t warned might want to ask themselves how they would have felt if they had received a call at 2:30 in the morning just to tell them that they had nothing to worry about. Imagine thousands of people being told, “Hey, you have nothing to worry about. We just thought you’d want to know.”

It’s ridiculous.

If they were mad that they didn’t get a warning for no reason, imagine how angry they would have been if they had. This is no different than if there were a large fire somewhere on Vancouver Island. Geographically uninformed relatives might call about that too. But if you’re not threatened, it’s a waste of everyone’s time, including yours, to warn you.

The threat to a local school is a completely different situation. That is a police matter. The RCMP have specific procedures for dealing with this type of problem. They are going to warn those who need to be warned and everyone else, including worried parents, will be informed when it is safe to do so.

The bottom line is that The Record should not encourage unrealistic expectations. Nothing was mishandled in either of these examples. Some people are going to get angry no matter what happens. Let’s leave that their problem.

Scott Goodman

Courtenay

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