Rural areas continue to work on tsunami plans

  • Nov. 29, 2006 9:00 a.m.

The rural areas of Graham Island are still working on evacuation routes in the event of a tsunami, says regional district administrator Janet Beil.
Ms Beil says 2005 funding from the provincial government for tsunami preparedness went into a report on emergency planning prepared by a consultant for the rural areas of the regional district. The document “outlines the authority and responsibility to act in emergencies and communicates the policies and procedures to be followed.” But details about what each community will do still needs to be filled in. Local committees in Tlell, Miller Creek, Lawn Hill, and Tow Hill are looking into these topics, she says. The Observer found out that John Burrill is working on emergency planning in Tlell and Karen Church is the contact in Tow Hill. Bob Ells is the contact in Sandspit.
In Lawn Hill, Michael Muller-who chairs the community association- says they are not prepared at all. They have no process in place, nor a phone tree, but most people do know where the highest hill is to run up.
The is no plan in place on Tow Hill Road yet either, but Ms Church says she is looking for volunteers for a phone tree and others to drive out to inform people with no phones. The high points in her area are Tow Hill and the ridge behind the Chown and the Sangan. These are accessible by foot. A group is looking into nearby road routes. Otherwise people are asked to follow the signs to the Masset evacuation point. She says cell phones would valuable to her community in an emergency.
In Skidegate, emergency coordinator Lisa Kendall said community members are supposed to evacuate to the elementary school in Skidegate Heights in the event of a tsunami. But the committee is revising their plans now that the safe height of land has been downgraded from 20 metres to six metres above high tide.

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