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LOWER MAINLAND – Lower Mainland media jumped at the chance to spend time with CUPE members on the front line of flood watch. CUPE locals organized the tours where our members talked to reporters about a day in the life of a civic worker deployed to flood watch and the mechanics and protocols of preparing a community against threatening floods.

Typically, reporters are not allowed behind the ROAD CLOSED signs, onto the dykes or into flood call centres. All of that changed when CUPE offered to get clearances to allow reporters to become “embedded” with them on the front lines of flood watch.

On Thursday, June 7, 2007 Global TV viewers heard their flood reports from front line dyke inspector Stephen Bertoia, CUPE 622 member in Maple Ridge. He described the mechanics of dyke inspection and responded to reporters’ questions regarding what he is looking for, how water levels are measured, the kinds of threats that could undermine a dyke and what a day in the life of his crew is like during flood watch.

CUPE 622 Vice President Robert Dorrell guided Global TV, as well as NEWS 1130, Fairchild TV, 1320AM, Ming Pao Daily, and Maple Ridge News on a half-day tour. He is seen being interviewed just next to the Haney Bypass off of Lougheed highway, explaining to reporters how civic workers respond to rising waters in specific areas, in this case low lying agricultural land in front of him.

NEWS 1130 reporter Lyle Fisher joined CUPE’s flood watch for a second consecutive day, this time in Abbotsford. He was joined by reporters from the Abbotsford Times and the television station The Weather Network. CUPE 774 Vice President Tori Wills organized the exciting tour which included interviews with a CUPE flood call centre operator Lisa Pitts, visit to the Masqui Dyke, a sewage lift station and the Masqui Dyke Guage meter, which records historic flood levels.

The rapid and efficient work of city workers to protect their communities from flooding was reported on The Weather Network by members of the public who were close by.

City workers and dyke inspector Darryl Dowedoff talked to Weather Network reporter Ross Hull about the flood threat on the foot of a stairway to the rivers edge that was completely flooded.

Reporters in Langley, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Hope also got a chance to add the voice of front line workers and CUPE members in their stories.

For more information or pictures, please visit http://www.cupe.bc.ca/4011 CUPE FLOOD WATCH on the CUPE BC website where you will find a picture gallery from across British Columbia.