23 September 2010

Important #igornl Emergency Information. Not really.

Education minister Darin King called VOCM’s night time call-in show to take a pot-shot at people criticising government for its supposed lack of emergency communications.

He and his colleagues have been working hard on behalf of their constituents, Darin assured us all.  Darin and Clyde Jackman only took time away from their districts to go to a cabinet meeting in St. John’s.  Presumably, if they came to St. John’s, they flew there on a chartered helicopter but that will be another story.

Darin mentioned he has been pushing information out via his Facebook site, for example.  Okay, sez your humble e-scribbler, let’s check out the important storm and recovery info Darin is offering his constituents.

There are a couple of things on Darin’s website, as of 2130 hours Thursday night.  Like this tourism notice:


The other thing is basically a report on his helicopter ride, issued September 23, which would be the day after his ride. Note that it doesn’t really contain any official emergency response information and what it does give is pretty vague. 

As for Facebook, there are 12 notes on Darin’s “wall” in the past two days.  Two of them contain information about road repairs.  He had to get the big giant head in there though, in case people might not recall where they found the information.  Maybe it is just there as a reminder that – as Darin said a couple of times during his call Thursday night – you have to check the source of the information:


The other wall posts are essentially all pictures taken during the recent helicopter tour by the Premier and a few other bigwigs.

The comms assessment?  The noise to signal ratio is pretty high.  Lots of static:  very little useful information.

But the scarcity of solid information on Darin’s site suggests that even cabinet ministers aren’t getting good updates on what is going on. That reinforces the point that the provincial government’s emergency response system desperately needs a complete overhaul. If you take Darin’s helicopter ride “update” at face value, there’s no sign of the emergency services division at all. The whole thing seems rather haphazard.

- srbp -