Residents in four West Shore municipalities can now sign up to receive public safety alerts.
Langford, Colwood, Highlands and View Royal have partnered with the Capital Regional District on a West Shore Alert initiative which will use the Public Alert Notification System to deliver critical alerts to residents who have registered.
The system will be used for incidents like earthquakes, wildfires, tsunami alerts or evacuation notices as well as occasional test alerts.
Shawn Carby, senior manager of protective services with the CRD said Metchosin has also indicated interest in the alert system but has not signed on yet.
“The West Shore group that just came on board was working with the CRD in the fall and winter to help get their launch going,” Carby said. “They’re looking at a more collaborative approach for alerting in the West Shore.”
Carby also noted that the West Shore Alert system sends alerts to people who have voluntarily signed up for it, unlike the provincial system which pushes alerts to all phones.
Any alert sent by Alert Ready, the provincial and federal alert system, will take precedence over West Shore Alert.
Residents can receive notifications on their home phone, cell phone, work phone, e-mail and via SMS text message.
When a notification is issued, multiple attempts will be made to each telephone number provided until you confirm receipt of the message. E-mails and texts will only be sent once.
Information from the West Shore Alert system can help residents and their families know what to do, where to go and what to expect in the event of an emergency.
Alerts can also be tailored to a specific geographic area, Carby said.
“If it’s an event that’s hitting an area, whether it be evacuation warnings or if there’s a problem with some sort of spill, we can target the areas that have been identified by emergency services,” Carby said.
The alert system will be free of cost to residents, with municipalities covering the fees to register them for the alert system.
In a previous statement, a spokesperson from the City of Colwood said implementing the West Shore Alert system has been in conversation for quite some time. However, it was most evident that it was necessary last January when there was a tsunami warning in Colwood and firefighters went door-to-door to alert residents along the Lagoon to evacuate.
Residents can register for alerts online at westshorealert.ca.