Canada has a new Alert system – which has all the failings of all the others

I’ve noticed that Canada has a new Alert system which includes the electronic media. It’s a welcome step, and I cant understand why it took so long to organise.

I have no other information than what’s in the web site, but here are some views of mine:

It’s a step forward but doesn’t go far enough.

It seems the warnings will be issued on phones, but it’s not entirely clear.

Warnings broadcasts should be compulsory not voluntary, as it’s the only way to develop a reliable system. The evidence from the US is quite clear – e3letronic media ignore warnings if they are voluntary. see here:

There should be some sort of audio attached to the warnings.

The warnings should be scalable, but they aren’t.

The use of the third party to distribute warnings is a waste of taxpayers funds. The media should pay as there is significant economic and profit benefit if they broadcast warnings (apart from Canadian Broadcast Corporation or public broadcasters)

There is no digital or web based activity listed. This suggests to me that the warnings system isn’t fully integrated. That usually results in mixed messages and different approaches to the same event.

The media isn’t being seen as a “stakeholder in community safety” – again, just a disseminator. This is the critical cultural change that must be made if emergency agencies want to unleash the full benefit of the reach and power of electronic media (and ensure the media wears some of the cost).

I’ll be interested to see how it goes.


“Liberty alone does not provide for the peasant and his family.”

Washington DC, October 2012

The dedication on a statue at Lafeyette Park near the White House is “And freedom Shrieked as Kosciusko fell.”

 “Kosciusko” will stop most Australians for a moment! That’s out biggest mountain. 

Elevation: 2,228 m, Snowy Mountain Range in the Great Dividing Range.
First ascent by non indigenous person: 1840 by Paweł Edmund Strzelecki who named it aftrer his Polish hero.

Turns out Thaddeus is a national hero of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States of America. He is credited with making the statement at top. (The rest of this is from Wikipedia but there is a really interesting post with much more detail about his fascinating life here:

“He led the 1794 “Kościuszko Uprising” against Imperial Russia and the Kingdom of Prussia as Supreme Commander of the Polish National Armed Force.

Before commanding the “Uprising,” he fought in the American War of Independence as a colonel in the Continental Army. In 1783, in recognition of his dedicated service, he was promoted by the Continental Congress to the rank of brigadier general, made a naturalized citizen of the United States,and given a land grant.

On a visit to America in 1798, Kościuszko collected his back pay and entrusted it to his friend Thomas Jefferson in his will, directing him to spend the American money on freeing and educating black slaves, including Jefferson’s. Kościuszko died in 1817, but Jefferson never carried out the terms of his will, nor did a friend to whom he transferred the executorship. In 1852 Chief Justice Roger Taney of the U.S. Supreme Court transferred the money, by then worth more than $50,000, to Kościuszko’s heirs in Poland, ruling that his American will had been invalid. The money went to his heirs in Europe, who were eventually swindled out of it!

Thaddeus Kosciusko

The first blog post just for background

I am interested in “emergency broadcasting” – emergency warning systems and processes.

I am off to the US and Canada after securing a Churchill Foundation 2012 Fellowship

I felt the best way to report back from the US was to do so online. I opted for a blog, rather than Tumblr as it has many longer term features I might one day feel are useful.

I hope this is an interactive site where others interested in emergency broadcasting can comment, advise, direct, vent (nicely, no swearing), question and puzzle-out-loud with me.

I searched for quick n easy blogs; came across Fatcow, paid $172 via credit card, with very little understanding of what I was doing, (and with a promise of a few dollars more every month,) and three hours later I am here…trying to create content. I have used the “live chat” to Fatcow a few times already and they were very helpful, quick and easy to use.

Another hour later and I’ve worked out a few more things. need to ensure I’ve authorised any comments before they are loaded; lost the front page somewhere; worked out how to make a link, and well, that’s it really.

Except later good friend Redsultana offered to tidy things up. It’s always good to work in partnerships!