Starting Oct. 1

Texting adopted for public emergency alerts in Metchosin

Metchosin residents can soon be notified of emergency situations with a vibrating pocket.

Metchosin residents will soon be notified of emergency situations with a vibrating pocket.

Whether it’s a road closure, fire or tsunami, residents of the district will have the option of being notified by text message or email from the Metchosin emergency operations centre.

In winter and fall, Metchosin is often hit with heavier snow and windstorms than other parts of the region and can be subject to longer power outages than urban areas.

“This is just another resource to contact the public with,” said Stephanie Dunlop, co-ordinator for Metchosin emergency programs and the district’s fire chief.

Getting the message out using texting and email is usually much faster than radio, television or word-of-mouth, she said. “The old-fashioned style of phone tree takes time.”

But Dunlop stressed this system is only as reliable as people’s Internet service provider or cellphone company, so established phone alert systems will not be abandoned.

Metchosin emergency personnel and District staff have have used text messages and emails to relay information for a long time, but the service should be open to the public by Oct. 1. Dunlop said 50 residents have sign up so far.

Most recently Dunlop texted and emailed out information about the 6.4 magnitude earthquake on Sept. 9, informing district staff that there was no tsunami warning or local damage.

The Metchosin emergency operations centre has also created Facebook and Twitter accounts to allow residents to follow the up-to-date information through social media.

“We want to use as many resources as possible,” Dunlop said.

To subscribe to the text message or email alerts, email Dunlop at eocchief@metchosin.ca.

To follow Metchosin EOC on Twitter go to twitter.com/MetchosinEOC and for Facebook search Metchosin EOC and add as a friend.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

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