As the Provincial government conducts a test of its wireless Alert Ready system today, the RDEK is reminding residents that the provincial system cannot be used for local emergencies such as flood and fire at this time and residents are urged to sign up for the regional Evacuation Notification System to ensure they receive local emergency notifications.
“We want people to be aware of the limitations of the Alert Ready program in BC, which currently is only used for tsunami warnings, Amber Alerts and specific civil police emergencies,” explains RDEK Communications Manager, Loree Duczek. “We have long been advocating for a system that will push emergency messages out to mobile devices, but at this time this system cannot do that.”
Part of the RDEK’s concern is that the test message being sent today by wireless carriers in BC states that customers will receive emergency alerts from the government for possible life-threatening situations, which can leave false expectations that the public will be notified for all emergencies. “While local governments such as the RDEK hope to one day be able to access the system, we want to stress to residents that they will not be receiving text messages about local emergencies through the Alert Ready system at this time, which is why we are urging residents to sign up for the local notification system,” adds Duczek.
The East Kootenay Evacuation Notification System sends messages regarding evacuation alerts and orders to cell phones and landlines in addition to a dedicated app; however, users have to register at least one property location in order to be notified.
“We strongly support having the Alert Ready system and its ability to automatically push emergency notifications to any smartphone within a defined geographic area and hope to see the Province expand the system’s scope to include other critical emergency-related messages,” says Duczek. “In the meantime, we have a robust local option and urge all residents and property owners to register today.”
To register for the East Kootenay Evacuation Notification System, visit the Emergency Information page at www.rdek.bc.ca.