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Port Alberni chooses didgeridoo as new test sound for tsunami alarm system

June 25, 2015 starting next autumn Port Alberni, B.C., will have a new test sound for its tsunami warning system — a didgeridoo.

New sound will be implemented later this year

By All Points West, CBC News Posted: Jun 23, 2015 10:53 AM PT Last Updated: Jun 23, 2015 4:23 PM PT

Aboriginal artist Mathew Doyle plays the didgeridoo to signal the start of celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, in Australia. The didgeridoo will become the official sound for Port Alberni's tsunami warning system.

Aboriginal artist Mathew Doyle plays the didgeridoo to signal the start of celebrations to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, in Australia. The didgeridoo will become the official sound for Port Alberni's tsunami warning system. (AP)

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Starting next autumn Port Alberni, B.C., will have a new test sound for its tsunami warning system — a didgeridoo.

The sound was chosen by a group of high school students from Alberni District Secondary School as part of a project to try to enhance the community.

"I love watching the kids work together and figure things out because it had to be unanimous and every student had to like the sound," said high school teacher Anne Ostwald. "Sitting back and watching them discuss and argue and agree and change things around was a really cool process."

The tsunami alarm system is activated when there is a tsunami warning and is tested on the first Wednesday of every month.

 

Ostwald says the class spent about a month listening to different sounds from crying babies, to a beating heart to farm animals.

"I honestly thought the duck would be a really cool sound, it's something different," said high school student Freya Knapp. "The class didn't quite agree and we do get ducks in Port Alberni."

Once the class narrowed it down to six sounds, the city's portable tsunami system was set up at the school's stadium because the sounds are much different when heard outside.

Knapp said city council was very receptive of their proposal, with many of them smiling and laughing as they listened to the didgeridoo.

The city is installing a new tsunami warning tower in a couple of months and the new  test sound will be introduced at the same time.

"It's going to be around for years to come, so it's always going to be something on that first Wednesday of the month that you hear and you're like 'Oh yeah I was part of the creation of that,' which is really cool," said Knapp.

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