Campbell River, BC – The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) would like to inform the public that both our annual Shake Out and Get Out Evacuation Exercise and Disaster Preparedness Tradeshow will be cancelled this year. Instead we will be running an Exercise Off Grid, so expect to hear several messages on your local radio station between 10:30 am – 1:00 pm on Thursday October 15th that say, “Exercise Off Grid Exercise”.
“The safety of our regional emergency program volunteers is critical, and the concerns of COVID-19 do not support running these annual emergency program events. We still encourage everyone to participate in the British Columbia Shake Out by registering at www.shakeoutbc.ca/register” said SRD Board Vice Chair Brad Unger. “Members of our Emergency Communications Team will be participating in Exercise Off Grid”.
Exercise Off Grid will test the Strathcona Regional District’s ability to deliver emergency notifications to our FM Radio Station Emergency Broadcasting list on our internal Connect Rocket notification system as well as through digital ham radio email messages. The purpose of this Connect Rocket list is to allow us to send all our local FM broadcasters an immediate life-safety message requesting them to divert from regular content and switch to emergency broadcasting only. This is complementary to the Connect Rocket Community notification system which sends voice and text messages to people who have signed up to receive them. Connect Rocket Community will not be tested during Exercise Off Grid.
Amateur radio has a long history of public emergency communication service. This is particularly true during natural disasters that cripple public telecommunications and broadcasting services, and where amateur radio is often the only surviving means of communication. The amateur radio operators who are embedded in SRD’s regional volunteer program understand that when they are tasked out it will likely be in less than ideal conditions therefore all of our radio kits are fitted in their own pelican case and capable of being powered from power supply that is not connected to the traditional network, hence the name “Exercise Off Grid”.
For more information about the Strathcona Regional District’s Emergency Community Team please visit www.srd.ca/emergency-communications-team.
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