At its peak, on November 2, a million households in Quebec had lost power. Nearly every building in TBL was in the dark. While forecasters had warned us of a severe storm, many were surprised by the extent of the disruption.
Once again, our community rose to the occasion with many acts of generosity. What was new, was the larger role that communications and social media played in this crisis. You might have been in the dark at home, but if you had access to a cell phone, you were no longer in the dark in terms of information.
Many of us were introduced for the first time to Hydro-Québec’s excellent App that provides a complete picture of outages. Initially, overwhelmed with the extent of the damage, Hydro-Québec could not give us any information about the time of a specific resolution but it was still a relief for many to see the extent of the crisis and then the progress of the work.
Many of us were also impressed by the scale and immediacy of TBL’s response. Here again, communications played a major role.
There is a “war room” at the firehall where TBL, the SQ, Hydro-Québec’s dispatch unit and all our local emergency services are directly connected. So, if any of TBL’s twelve public works employees, 25 local firefighters, and the full roster of eight First Responders, who were deployed on November 2, saw something, they could be sure of being connected directly to more help. This connection to the front-line meant that Ghyslain Forcier, who was manning TBL’s public communications, had immediate access to events, such as the washout on Fulford Road, that he could then broadcast to the public on the town’s Facebook page. In turn, a resident could use a comment on a town post that could then be passed on to the people in the field.
It’s good to know, in these uncertain climatic times, that we can help each other in this way.