Emergency Management BC has announced a new emergency notification management hub and a mobile app aimed at streamlining how emergency communications are disseminated to the public.
The Province’s Strategic Investment Fund and TELUS added the $1 million investment to the project that will speed up and automate alerts and broaden the types of alerts that can be delivered in case of a variety of disasters.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton says the new alerting system will reach more British Columbians faster.
“With the recent tragedy in Nepal, we were reminded of the devastating impact of a major earthquake. Keeping communities informed quickly with critical emergency information will be an important step in ensuring public safety for British Columbia when the ‘big one’ – or any major disaster – hits here at home,” Anton said.
The alert management hub will be set up in the next two years and will allow for:
- Faster creation of alerts by Emergency Management BC or another authorized user
- The ability to geo-locate the emergency event and focus alert distribution to those areas
- The translation of alerts to a variety of channels, such as smartphone app, radio and television
- Integration with the national Alert Ready notification system to feed alerts to radio and television
The mobile app will be developed to work on a variety of devices and operating systems and on all B.C. telecommunication carriers.
TELUS’ chief corporate officer Josh Blaire says the new alert system will save lives.
“More and more British Columbians rely on their mobile devices for breaking news and alerts. Working with the Province and Emergency Management BC to complement TV and radio broadcast alerts with instant messages on wireless devices will help get critical information out to the public and emergency service providers faster and more thoroughly when seconds count.”
Beyond the new emergency notification management hub, the Province of B.C. has improved disaster response plans by:
- Recent upgrades to the Provincial Emergency Notification System (PENS).
- Participating in the development and implementation of the Alert Ready national public alerting system to broadcast alerts through radio and television.
- Analyzing the future of 911 call answer service throughout B.C. for improved service delivery.
- Drafting the first iteration of the B.C. Earthquake Immediate Response Plan.
- Proactively reaching out to the public through EMBC’s social media public education channels.