Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

In June 2023, the EMALTE team arrived on beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to install, test and commission a siren system at the site of the Uchucklesaht First Nations village (Ehthlateese Reserve) on Barkley Sound, Alberni Inlet. The area’s vulnerabilities are earthquakes, tsunamis and forest fires.

The self-governed First Nation tribes on Vancouver Island receive funding from the state and federal governments which allows them to protect and support the indigenous culture. Funding was granted to the Uchucklesaht tribe to install a massive emergency warning siren.

The team had the option to take a 5-hour barge trip to the very isolated but scenic area of Barkley Sound where the Uchucklesaht tribe live, or, take a ride in the launch with the project manager, Moses Towell – a one-hour trip with lunch included. We thought about it for a couple of seconds.

One might wonder why a siren system was installed for a small village of 13 people, that is until they hear the siren tested, then they won’t wonder anymore. The actual siren system contains 10 amplifiers and 10 Whelen (USA) loudspeakers and sirens which, when activated, can be heard clearly within a radius of 1.8 kilometers at 70 decibels with ambient noise levels around 50 – 55 decibels in a rural environment. Therefore, the emergency siren system is capable of alerting other residents in the clusters of small villages scattered throughout the Sound

The EMALTE team was fortunate enough to work alongside three, very professional local teams; Moses Towell, Resource and Development Manager and Emergency Program Coordinator (Uchucklesaht Tribe Government); Mark Addy from Addy Power Ltd and Travis Howland from West Coast Communication Services. The local Uchucklesaht tribe was most welcoming into their village and the Chief was an eager observer of the installation process.

The anticipation was palpable as the installation was finalised and ready for testing. EMALTE had connected for the first time, the new EMALTE Siren Connect, a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) application combined with SMS and Sky Muster Communications. The installation was an outstanding success – all systems go!

Hopefully, the emergency warning system never has to be activated, but in a rare disaster situation, it will certainly help to keep local communities, visitors, and workers safe and informed.