Military aid in Alberni will have to wait after tsunami

Alberni will have to wait a week before the Canadian military could come to its aid in the event of a tsunami, fire chief Tim Pley said.

Port Alberni would have to wait for a week before the Canadian military could come to its aid in the event of a tsunami, says fire chief Tim Pley.

Pley told Port Alberni city councillors he met with military officials from Joint Task Force Pacific in February.

The military has developed an interest in supporting municipalities with emergency planning in response to a disaster.

Pley and members of the local emergency planning committee questioned the officials about what the city could expect in terms of military assistance.

“Basically, they said that they couldn’t get here in time to rescue people were it to happen,” Pley said. “But they could get here to help us recover.”

Recovery and resources are why the military couldn’t respond right away, Pley said. “Their first priority in the event of a disaster is getting their bases up and running and afterward they could begin to reach out,” Pley said. “We can’t rely on them for about a week.”

As well, a cumbersome protocol has to be adhered to first that would see the city exhaust municipal, regional and provincial resources first before tapping into the military.

Also, the military’s resources are limited and equipment and personnel would have to be drawn in from around the province, which would take time, Pley said.

“The military isn’t what it was in 1964 when the last Tsunami hit the Alberni Valley,” Pley said. “We also may not be the only community impacted in a disaster.”

The news isn’t a surprise and re-emphasizes the need for residents to be prepared for a disaster on their own, he said.

“Plan to be self-sufficient for a week,” Pley added.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com