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Evacuation Flagging Tape Colours
General News · 24th August 2017
Shaun Koopman
Communication is a critical pillar of emergency response. Not just communication between first responders themselves, but first responders and the public. When the Strathcona Regional District and Comox Valley Regional District conducted a joint wildfire evacuation exercise along the Oyster River in Area D this June the evacuation protocol followed the typical procedure of RCMP and Search and Rescue [SAR] personnel delivering evacuation notices by going door-to-door. The first responders would then place coloured flagging tape at the driveway entrance of each household that indicates the status of that household.

Let’s ponder the difficulties that this procedure would encounter on Cortes Island:
• RCMP and SAR personnel would be delayed reaching Cortes Island;
• Long driveways would mean more time is needed to reach each household; and
• Areas lacking cellular reception create greater difficulty getting a message out to the public.

In my opinion, this highlights the importance of the following programs on Cortes Island:
• Forming Neighborhood Emergency Programs to help each other out;
• Becoming well versed with FSR Radios;
• Obtaining your Amateur Radio Operator Certificate; and
• Signing up for SRD’s Connect Rocket mass notification system.

The Strathcona Regional District offers a free notification service to keep residents, visitors and businesses informed of emergencies in a timely manner. SRD's emergency notifications are delivered by both text message and voice calls to landlines and cell phones to subscribers.

If you know someone who wishes to receive notifications but does not have internet access, please sign-up for them or have them call the Strathcona Emergency Program at 250-830-6702 to get registration support. You can signup at:

The emergency program will also heavily utilize Twitter and Facebook in the event of an emergency.
Twitter: SEP_EPC

If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns about emergency preparedness on Cortes please do not hesitate to contact me at 250-830-6702 or

Comment by Barry on 24th August 2017
Many Cortes Islanders are involved with our local radio station, CKTZ. Broadcast from this station reach most of Cortes and some of Quadra and even Campbell River. This makes it an ideal mechanism for disseminating emergency information. The station is busy to develop its emergency broadcasting capacity in terms of both an independent power supply and trained personnel. CKTZ is an important cog in the communication network and it is being rapidly developed.
Cortes Island Emergency Communications
Comment by Amanda Glickman on 24th August 2017
Our current plan is for neighbourhoods to coordinate using FRS (Family Radio Service) radios, which they can use to contact local amateur radio operators. Amateur operators have the ability to make contacts off island and those who are a part of the SRD Emergency Communications Team are specifically trained for emergency communications.

Please remember that we do have an amateur radio operators club on Cortes Island - CIRCLE (Cortes Island Radio Club and Learning Enterprise) who support continuing education in radio and technology.