RDKB launches new emergency alerting system

Residents and visitors who register for alerts will receive critical information about floods, wildfires or other emergencies

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Aerial view of flooding in the community of Grand Forks, B.C.

Flooding devastated the community of Grand Forks in 2018. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is making it easier to communicate critical information during an emergency with the launch of a new alerting system powered by Voyent Alert! — Photo courtesy Regional District of Kootenay Boundary/The Canadian Press

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has launched a new emergency alerting system powered by Voyent Alert! — a Canada-based notification service designed specifically for small to medium sized municipalities and regional governments. Residents and visitors who register for alerts will receive critical information about floods, wildfires or other emergencies in the region.

“Our new emergency alerting system is a great addition to our Emergency Operations Centre and will allow EOC staff to provide critical life-safety information to anyone who registers. The emergency alerting system is another way for people to be personally prepared for emergencies and complements a grab and go kit, 72-hour kit, and a household preparedness plan.” said Mark Stephens, Interim Emergency Program Manager at the RDKB.

Anyone who registers for the RDKB Emergency Alerting System will receive information such as the distance and direction from an incident, and preferred evacuation routes from locations the subscriber chooses. The service also allows registrants to create and set multiple locations such as “Kids’ School” or “Mom’s House.” Communication about life-safety events related to those locations will then be sent to registrants through the Voyent Alert! smartphone app or whatever communication method they select in the system.

Those who don’t use the smartphone app can receive emergency alerts by text/SMS, email or phone call to cell or landline. The system’s smart alerting capabilities ensure that registrants will only get notified when information is relevant to them or to one of the locations they have set when they register.

Registration for the service is free, straightforward and anonymous. Residents can cancel their registration or change their settings at any time. The RDKB will also continue to use handdelivered paper notifications for evacuation orders and for some evacuation alerts.

"We know fast and effective communication is one of the greatest challenges in emergency response, and our new emergency alerting system is one more step the RDKB is taking to be responsive to the needs of our residents and businesses during emergencies. But, it can't help you unless you sign yourself up, so please find two minutes in your day and register!” said Roly Russell, RDKB Board Chair.

Mobile app users can download and install the Voyent Alert! app from the Apple App or Google Play stores. Email, SMS or voice dial users can register online to receive email, voice or textbased alerts at https://register.voyent-alert.com

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