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High-tech communications plays key role in flood preparation


Vancouver, B.C. – TELUS is pulling out the stops to keep communications channels open if the Lower Mainland is hit by flooding in coming weeks.

TELUS crews have been working long hours to protect critical equipment sites and network components from potential flooding. Preparations include erecting water barriers around telephone switching offices, sealing curb-side telecommunications equipment in plastic, testing back-up power generators and positioning spare mobile generators and equipment around the Lower Mainland. To provide assistance to emergency officials and health care facilities, TELUS is gathering stores of cellphones for distribution and deploying its two SATCOLTs (satellite cellsite on light truck), including the one normally based in Ontario.

“Should the floods come, TELUS is doing everything possible to ensure service continuity and that first responders have the tools they need to do their job,” said Jason Macdonnell, TELUS general manager and a member of the TELUS Emergency Management Operations Centre.

TELUS is also working with local and provincial government authorities to coordinate disaster communications during flooding and install phone lines into emergency response centres. Should flooding occur, TELUS will activate its Emergency Management Operations Centre. The centre will work with provincial and municipal authorities to maintain real-time communications with critical personnel and the general public using an array of communications tools including landline phones, wireless communications, text messages, faxes, and an online mapping system.

TELUS has been working directly with the B.C. Provincial Emergency Program (BCPEP) since January to coordinate communications efforts and deploy technologies that may be used in the event of flooding or any other emergency.

“The Province works with many agencies and partners before, during and after emergencies,” said Minister of Public Safety John Les. “By working together, we are better able to protect public safety and critical infrastructure, including communications.”

High-tech communications technology plays a crucial role in ongoing planning for any disaster. For example, TELUS works with the BCPEP on the Pacific Westcoast Tsunami Warning System. TELUS’ Geoexplorer online mapping and communications technology has been set up to notify key media, public safety officials and municipal officials whenever there is a risk of tsunami. Geoexplorer allows emergency response officials to identify the area impacted by an emergency on any computer with broadband Internet access, and then communicate by recorded phone messages to people living in the area or pre-determined lists of first responders and officials.


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