Harrison officials apologize for use of emergency alarm during Day of Mourning

Nova Scotia tribute raised alarm for a number of residents

File photo

There was a bit of extra noise in the air on Thursday (April 28), but the sirens were ultimately no cause for alarm.

April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning. This particular year has special significance following the worst shooting in the history of Canada that killed more than 20 people in Nova Scotia on April 8 and 9. The Harrison Hot Springs Fire Department gathered that Thursday at their usual meeting time of 7 p.m. and set off engine sirens and the village emergency warning system as tribute to those who have fallen.

Given the anxiety this raised for a number of residents, though, acting fire chief Trevor Todd said “in hindsight” it was “maybe not the greatest idea.”

Todd said firefighters approached him about participating in the Day of Mourning, having experienced losses in the past. The 7 p.m. alarm was a bit of a perfect storm. Traditonally, many residents and businesses make noise and cheer for frontline workers every night at 7 p.m. during the coronavirus fight, and the Day of Mourning tribute was to commence at the same time.

RELATED: On Day of Mourning, Fernie remembers victims of ammonia leak tragedy

While a good number of villagers were aware of the issue via the village’s intentions in advance, there were a number who were concerned particularly for those who come from war-torn areas of the world, veterans and for those less connected to the goings-on posted via the village website and their active social media presence.

“There were great plans for great reasons, but it was myabe not the greatest thing to do,” Todd said.

RELATED: Day of Mourning to be held virtually

Todd added he wasn’t sure what exactly the siren was originally built for but suspected it may be an air raid siren from years gone by. He hasn’t seen it used or so much as tested in 10 years.

Village officials said they understood that people may not have made the connection to the Day of Mourning and “deeply regret any distress [this caused].”

Since its inception in 1991, the provincial Day of Mourning takes place on April 28 of every year, as organized by a group of federal, provincial and municipal authorities, including the B.C. Federation of Labour, WorkSafeBC and the Business Council of B.C. For more informaiton about the Day of Mourning and how you can honour the fallen, please visit https://www.dayofmourning.bc.ca.

Harrison Hot SpringsMass shootingsNova Scotia

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