Technology could help response warning

As we look south and consider the disaster at Oklahoma I am again reminded of disasters close to home.


As we look south and consider the disaster at Oklahoma I am again reminded of disasters close to home.

In this last year, much of the Wildwood area was evacuated when a truck laden with some sort of explosives tipped over in a ditch.

Danger was downplayed, so as not to cause panic. Never-the-less residents were required to evacuate, this follows a prior propane leak evacuation for the same area.

I wrote a prior letter suggesting that a system of warning be installed in communities along major highways like Highway 97, and possibly in all communities warning devices similar to, as was had during the Second World War.

However, with today’s technology, the warning system could be much different.

I quote my words from that prior letter:  I envision a system with available technology, where, when a local warning device sounded; a specific area could be warned by an integrated short range FM station broadcasting to that specific area.

Possibly a unique community tonal-pitched electronic signal triggered by a 911 operator preceding the broadcast would be a modern version of the Second World War siren.

With the things that are happening in the world, for survival, we may need to develop technology for more rapid public response warning.

Disaster preparation is not crying wolf.

On July 31, 1987 Edmonton suffered a devastating tornado, no one knew, or suspected was coming.

Virtually without warning 24 people died and an Oklahoma-type devastation occurred over an area a kilometre-wide and 40 kilometers long.

With changing weather patterns and increasing populations, no area can be considered as exempt.

Here in Williams Lake, and we certainly can include Quesnel,  100 Mile House, Clinton and Cache Creek, a major highway runs through our communities.

Things that were once carried by rail are now on our highways.

Picture if you will, a chlorine, or propane loaded truck having a spill of consequence on Highway 97 above 11th and 12th avenues.

Both of these chemicals are heavier than air, evacuation has to be immediate, with chlorine, deaths can occur faster than people could be warned by volunteers in protective gear banging on doors.

With a propane leak, all we need do is recall the explosion of a Vancouver plumber’s acetylene tank in his parked car to visualize a propane leak.

Astute community leaders need to be expressing their concerns.

Doug Wilson

Williams Lake

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