We fully appreciate how difficult these situations are for Canadians caught up in them and sometimes even more difficult for their loved ones back home who don't have any information on how they're doing and who feel powerless to help them. These situations create a high level of anxiety, and we completely understand that. You're right; it is part of our job to reach out to those Canadians, to deal with families here in Canada who are concerned and friends who call us, and also to deal with Canadians directly in the field.
As you mentioned, we have set up a fairly elaborate structure. We have the emergency watch and response centre, which operates 24-7, but in the case of a significant mass emergency like the ones we just experienced, we set up an emergency call centre that's also staffed 24-7 and has very large numbers of officers answering phones, answering enquiries, passing on information. You've experienced it yourself. It is a beehive of activity. We have hundreds of trained volunteers who come in to do that work after hours to keep that response going, and we had a very prolonged period of almost 28 days this month where we had these centres going.
In the staffing of that centre and its ability to take calls, all the information we have, the metrics from our system, are that it was adequately staffed and that there were not significant wait times. I appreciate what you're saying that some people might have had a different experience and that's part of the lessons learned follow-up that we have. We believe that calls are being answered in a very timely way.
What was much more problematic for people who were concerned, relatives on this end, was, in the initial phases of this disaster, the lack of communication on the ground. These islands did not have developed communications. Even though they might have been doing well and were simply isolated and unable to communicate back, it was difficult for us to reach them and impossible for their families to reach them except sporadically, especially with the loss of power, etc.
Part of our lessons learned is reviewing all these situations and trying to look at new and creative ways to access people as these storms progress. We mobilized a whole variety of different responses that we haven't necessarily had to use. We had evacuations by boat. We had small, fixed-wing aircraft, float planes. Many different types of responses were mobilized, all means to reach people and get them off the islands. I mentioned using local radio stations. We had people broadcasting different departure and evacuation times.
I think this is a really important role. We place the highest priority on that communications link, and we focus on it.