From a news release
HALIFAX: While Hurricane Fiona ripped across much of the province over the weekend people could not connect with family, friends, and neighbours because vital cell service was not available.
This same thing happened during Hurricane Dorian and since that time both the past Liberal government and current Conservative government failed to make sure families could connect with each other during the most recent storm.
“People know what to do to prepare for a storm. Unfortunately, if cell phone and internet coverage are lost when people need them most it makes an already scary time much worse, and potentially more dangerous,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender.
“After Dorian we were told that cell phone companies had to do better, and that everything was in place to ensure people would stay connected.
“Big telecoms were not ready for this storm, which left thousands of people with no way to get information or check in with friends and loved ones.”
In the aftermath of the storm, when cell service was restored, thousands of worried families took to social media to express their frustration that they were left without both power and cell service.
“Reliable cell phone and internet service are essential. It’s how people connect and check in on each other. If an emergency happened, how would someone call for help?” said Kendra Coombes, NDP MLA for Cape Breton Centre – Whitney Pier.
“It’s been a very stressful weekend for thousands of worried people who couldn’t reach their family members to see if they were ok or needed help. When people can’t connect, they are forced to get on the roads to check in person which put more people at risk and slowed important recovery efforts.”
Nova Scotia can expect more frequent and server storms because of climate change. Telecoms, like other essential services, must be prepared for major storms and ensure reliable service.
“Reliable cell and internet service is fundamental to responding and dealing with emergencies.
“People need to know they can communicate after a storm, Tim Houston has said he will look into this, and New Democrats are ready to work with him to ensure people are not disconnected from each other during the next storm,” said Chender.