Upper Clearwater needs better emergency communication systems

This situation might be common in undeveloped countries but it is unacceptable for Canada

Editor, The Times:

Since last Friday the phone-line to Upper Clearwater Valley has been interrupted due to a lightning strike. That means we don’t have phone contact with the rest of the world.

This is exactly the situation I predicted during a public safety discussion last summer in Upper Clearwater Hall with Grant Gale of Emergency Social Services.

All the bureaucracy and displayed paperwork is senseless if there is no chance for any contact. As second class citizens here in the valley we’re out of range for cellphone service. WiFi works only if we have a private and expensive satellite-system.

A long time ago we had Clearwater Answering Service, a privately-owned business that provided more or less public radio contact during emergencies. But no longer.

In my opinion that’s a lack of public service! And Thompson-Nicola Regional District told us there’s no chance for cellphone service within the next five years.

Imagine what would have happened if this lightning-strike had started a fire, making the road undriveable, and we didn’t’ have a chance to inform somebody?

What would happen if a tourist bus with 40 people on board is trapped or is involved in an accident?

What if there is a major fire? As you know, Clearwater Fire Department covers only the area of District of Clearwater.

This situation might be common in undeveloped countries but it is unacceptable for Canada.

Fritz Schaer

Upper Clearwater, B.C.