Letter to the Editor: Serious alerts for serious people

I would like to begin by stating that I understand why CRTC has mandated alerts and I wholeheartedly support this

Editor:

The article entitled Emergency Warnings Irk Cable Subscribers which appeared in the Nov. 13, 2015 issue of The Northern Connector did not cover the main reason for the concerns that were raised by many in our fair city and probably beyond.

I would like to begin by stating that I understand why CRTC has mandated alerts and I wholeheartedly support this, especially when a severe storm is about to occur in a given area.

However, the contents of the alerts went far beyond what was necessary in our region in October. Early in October (I did not write down the exact day) we were receiving alerts for Watson Lake, Yukon.  Is this in our area?  I think not!  Programming was interrupted for a while.  When programming is interrupted one is not able to go to other channels or watch a prerecorded program.  The system takes over your TV. I must also comment about the audio in these alerts which was at best, deplorable.

The crowning glory for me came when programming was again interrupted (for a long time) on Oct 28, 2015.   This time, a mandatory weekly test came on the alert system and a warning was issued for four counties/areas – Aurora, Davison, Beadle and Bennett South Dakota.  South Dakota! That is definitely nowhere near our area, nowhere in Canada, in fact!

I took a picture of this, with my trusty digital, and went down to the Citywest office to find that literally everyone in the office was on the phone trying to rectify the situation. I know that employees of Citywest were trying hard that day to rectify the situation. I also know that much time and energy has been spent since, by Citywest employees, trying to rectify this.

I really do hope that it has been rectified and that we will not be subjected to alerts which have nothing to do with our area again!

The above two situations, (which apparently happened due to a malfunction in equipment somewhere) compounded with the frequency of all of the situations outlined in the article were some of the reasons for residents not willing to take it anymore.

When people are subjected with too many false alerts, will they take a real alert seriously? Or will the situation of “crying wolf” take over. We live in an area where severe storms happen often during the winter.  It is a fact of life here. Alerts, in our area, should only be posted when the situation is truly severe and out of the ordinary.

Laura Esposito

Prince Rupert