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CBC needs to pull up its socks: QC councillor
January 14, 2013 2:16 PM
By Jane Wilson--CBC Radio is planning to review its processes in response to last week's tsunami warning.
Many islanders complained that they did not hear anything from CBC radio until after the warning was already lifted, while CFNR was able to broadcast up-to-date information immediately.
Masset resident Lynda Osborne said she didn't hear anything on the CBC until 3:30 or 4 am and she's is not pleased with the information broadcast, saying that people rely on the CBC for information in emergencies.
"Especially in these remote areas where the power and internet might go down, the car radio might be all we have."
"CFNR was broadcasting within twenty minutes of the earthquake," said Queen Charlotte Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber at Monday's council meeting, saying he encouraged residents to listen to CFNR for information. Queen Charlotte councillor Leslie Johnson pointed out that CFNR is not available everywhere on the islands. "CBC really needs to pull up its socks," she said.
The earthquake hit at just before 1 am, the first tsunami warning email came out from Emergency Management British Columbia at 1:25 am, and the warning was cancelled at 3:08 am.
Lorna Haeber, CBC program director for BC, said she believes the first broadcast from the CBC on the subject took place around 3 am, but that is something she needs to look into more, as she is not certain of the timings.
Craig Ellis, program director for CFNR said that the station was able to start broadcasting almost immediately because a staff member lives in Prince Rupert and notified Mr. Ellis immediately after the earthquake, so he was able to start gathering information and broadcasting.
CFNR learned a lot after the October earthquake and put together a plan to start live broadcasting the moment it was possible to do so, said Mr. Ellis. "We learned that as a broadcaster we needed to be better prepared in event of an emergency so that we can get the information out that the communities need, a lot of those communities we broadcast to are those communities that would be potentially in danger."
CFNR is on the EMBC notification list, he said, but also gets information directly from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami warning site online. CFNR looks for help from the communities, so that the station can pass along the community specific information as soon as possible Mr. Ellis pointed out that Queen Charlotte CAO Peter Weeber contacted the station directly to give updates. (Ms Haeber said that CBC radio also "welcomes interaction with the audience.")
The CBC takes its role in emergencies very seriously, said Ms Haeber, and is planning on reviewing the processes, as they reviewed them after the earthquake in October. "We certainly reviewed all of our processes to insure we were clear on expectations, and reviewed how we communicate with each other," she said. "I do believe there were some changes made that strengthened our response time."
The CBC has two staff members in Prince Rupert, but she is not sure if they were in town or not at the time of the earthquake.
"I do not feel the ball got dropped," said Ms Haeber, "but we haven't done a full review of exactly what happened so until we have done that I wouldn't want to comment on the specific areas I feel could be improved to increase our response time."

QCI Observer

The Kwuna participated in a marine emergency last Friday. More in the Observer. Jeff King photo.

published on January 14, 2013 2:16 PM