Kyuquot upgrades tsunami warning system

Kyuquot, BC

The people of Houpsitas, the home of Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k'tles7et'h', can sleep well now that a new tsunami warning system has been installed.

According to Elizabeth Jack, the First Nation’s emergency coordinator, Kyuquot did not have a proper tsunami warning system until October 2020. Residents of the low-lying ocean-front community relied on a donated fire siren that was attached to the KCFN administration office.

“But it was pointed outward toward Walter’s Island so people behind it or even next door to it couldn’t hear it,” Jack told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

It would be up to those who heard the alarm to go door-to-door to warn people to get to higher ground.

Jack says the new system is very effective. In a test run, everyone in the village heard it along with people living on nearby islands. The system is activated by remote control or handset radios. Jack and the KCFN’s director of community services are the only two people with codes to activate the alarm.

Evacuees know to go up the hill to the school, which has been set up as an emergency muster location. There are two large containers with emergency supplies, including blankets and food.

In addition, the school itself has 151 newly installed solar panels that are capable of supplying power to the facility in the event of a power failure. This is particularly important for a remote community at the end of a power grid.

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