West Coast General Hospital, in Port Alberni, BC. NEWS FILE PHOTO

West Coast General Hospital’s parking lot is off-limits during tsunami evacuation

Parking lot needs to be clear for emergencies, says site director

If there is ever another tsunami warning in Port Alberni, officials at West Coast General Hospital are asking people not to use the hospital parking lot or its health square as evacuation sites. The lot needs to be kept clear for medical emergencies, says WCGH site director, Pam Rardon.

“One of the issues was the number of people that went to and around the hospital to get to higher ground,” she said (the hospital is above the City of Port Alberni’s tsunami inundation zone). “I don’t think they were overwhelming at all but a little worrisome if (the tsunami) had materialized and we had had to move people.

“It’s important as a community to keep the hospital entrances clear for emergency vehicles and for those who need emergency and medical care.”

Rardon said hospital staff “did very well with the tsunami warning. it was a good experience learning about what went well and what we can improve upon.

“It’s rare we get a chance to do a do-over. What a gift we’ve been given.”

Port Alberni Fire Chief Kelly Gilday said the evacuation went well from a fire department perspective. “Anytime you get a real-time event that you can use and look back on…you can improve,” he said. “We felt our members got out quickly and got the word out to the appropriate areas.

“We didn’t have a lot of problems with people not wanting to leave; we were looking after the industrial area and commercial area. There’s always one or two that want to come back in (to the evacuation zone) and watch…hopefully people will be a little smarter in the future because until you know what’s coming, you’re putting yourself at risk.

The 911 emergency system should also be left for emergencies, says E-comm spokesperson Jasmine Bradley. The 911 system saw a 300 percent increase in calls last Tuesday once the tsunami warning hit social media, radio and television stations.

“Our 911 lines began lighting up around 2 a.m., almost immediately after local communities started getting the word out,” she said. “Between 2 and 5 a.m. we received close to 200 calls. Normally we get 48 calls on a Tuesday in that same period.”

Most of the calls were from people looking for information on the tsunami warning: “We understand all of the questions we were getting were important questions that people want and need to know, but 911 is not the right source for that information.”

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Albernians bundling up for Coldest Night of the Year event

Family-friendly event raises money for the homeless, hungry and hurting

Repurposing plaza in Alberni business district follows market trend

Public hearing for Fairway Market conversion set for March 12

Fisheries Act fix doesn’t go far enough, says Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

Not even close to what we need,’ MP Gord Johns says

Pension delays unacceptable, Courtenay-Alberni MP says

Some retiring vets, RCMP wait ‘months, years’

North Island College opens its doors to Alberni, west coast students

More than 200 Grade 11 students check out programs offered at Alberni campus

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman after fall on mountain near Victoria

Roughly four-hour-long rescue includes firefighters from two departments

Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect in alleged bank robbery

Police say a man robbed the Terminal Park TD Bank at about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Most Read