NEWS BULLETIN file photo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Improve emergency alerts

Letter writers discuss problems, solutions following December's wind storm

To the editor,

Re: Winds whip up havoc across Nanaimo region, Dec. 20.

Everyone who endured the terrible wind storm recognizes and appreciates the heroic efforts of hydro workers, police, firefighters and neighbours to restore our lives to normal.

Our particular concern is the confusion about whether our water in Nanoose Bay was safe to drink. First we got an automated call saying not to use the water. Later we heard someone on the news warning against drinking the water even if it were boiled. Not until much later did we learn the problem was determined to be a supply issue specific to Nanaimo.

Before another crisis in the form of a wind storm, fire or earthquake occurs, we think it would be valuable to have in place an emergency phone line and/or radio station where all residents – even those with only a cell phone or battery-operated radio – could listen to automated updates as they become available.

Margot Moser, Nanoose Bay

RELATED: Nanaimo trying to tidy up after wind storm

RELATED: B.C. Hydro calls December storm ‘most destructive in history’

To the editor,

This major storm with power outages lasting several days was a good lesson on what we can do better for ourselves and neighbours.

We had no power or heat for close to four days. I learned how to operate a propane stove which was perfect. Our emergency water and food supply was ample.

But communication can be out and homes where there are fragile people can be in dire need. I have the green ‘OK’ and red ‘Help’ signs which are meant to put in a window to be seen. But many windows are not visible to the street. And many do not have these signs.

I thought a better idea would be to have a small flag either metal or cloth one side green and the other side red that can be secured on deck or railing, a more visible area.

I was involved with our provincial emergency program for eight years at one time and did exercises on urban search and rescue after disasters. This would save a lot of time in a major emergency. Also neighbours can be aware and help each other.

Perhaps someone can design and produce these signs which residents could purchase from the city or Red Cross.

We sure do need to be more proactive as the resources will not be able to help for many days.

Sandra Sauer, Nanaimo

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The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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