Port Coquitlam is making a new emergency notification system available to all residents.
Beginning Saturday (May 7), the Alertable app will be available to download for free and will alert residents to disasters in their area and what to do to stay safe.
The system is different from the BC Alert Ready system, which was tested Wednesday (May 4), with a province-wide alert.
But the Alertable App is tied in with federal and provincial notification systems by providing localized information and instructions from the city’s staff or Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).
According to a city release, the app, available to download through the App Store, Google Play or links at portcoquitlam.ca/alertable, allows subscribers to stay up to date with emergency alerts such as fires, floods, earthquakes, storms and other hazards in the community.
The notifications pushed through the app can also be found by searching the location on the Alertable website.
Initiated during Emergency Preparedness Week (May 1 to 7), the app could be used to alert residents about impacts of large scale events, such as flooding and fire.
Faster than door knocking and signs, Alertable would help with evacuations, such as a recent evacuation of residents within an 800-meter danger zone around a massive fire in the CP Rail Yard.
More recently, extreme weather has resulted in more localized flooding events and the app can be used to alert residents about what to do to protect life and property.
“Most people keep their mobile phone within arm’s reach, so this is a reliable and fast way to get important emergency information to residents when time is of the essence,” Mayor Brad West in a press release.
“It’s important for people to know that these are local alerts that directly affect our community. The cause may be regional in nature — like a flood — but if it affects Port Coquitlam, you’ll hear about it through the app. It’s a convenient way to get notified quickly about what to do and directly from the city on emerging events that affect you, such as large fires, gas leaks or hazardous materials.”
Alertable app notifications can be personalized by type, severity and sound level. The app also does not require widespread user tests, as with other emergency notification systems.
The app was developed by Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc. (PEASI), a Canadian mass notification software company involved in developing industry standards and guidelines for public alerts and notifications in Canada and around the world.
Future app features will include limiting alerts to a defined area or neighbourhood in the city and two-way communication with users.
Residents can download the Alertable app at any time, and will begin receiving Port Coquitlam alerts after the local service goes live on Saturday.
Residents can also ask questions at the Emergency Preparedness Booth at the May Days Party in the Square tomorrow, noon to 5 p.m. in Leigh Square.