The RDEK is asking the public to sign up for their Regional Evacuation Notification system (ENS) ahead of testing on Friday, May 5 at 11 a.m.
“The notification system is only used for evacuation alerts or orders and has been implemented as an additional tool to help us get the word out as quickly as possible to affected areas when time is of the essence,” said Loree Duczek, RDEK Communications Manager.
Registering for the system is free and it is available to all municipalities, First Nations and rural areas of the East Kootenay.
ENS is powered by Voyent Alert! and aims to keep residents and property owners informed in the event of evacuation orders or other important alerts issued during wildfires, floods or hazardous material incidents.
The RDEK says this system is tool that is all the more vital heading into spring and summer, which come with the risks of flooding and wildfires. The ENS is a separate system from the Provincial Alert Ready System. Duczek explained it is important for residents to sign up for the local ENS, as they “both have unique advantages.”
“People have to register for the ENS to receive notifications and can add as many locations in the East Kootenay as they would like. Once they have registered at least one location, they can choose to receive notifications via text or phone,” Duczek said. “There is also an app that can be downloaded to smartphones.”
The ENS sends alerts to those who have registered their property by cellphone or land line and keeps the notification active throughout the course of the evacuation alert or order. It will alert homeowners who may be away or who own property they don’t live on.
The Alert Ready system automatically sends alerts to anyone within a specific geographic area with a cellphone, interrupting radio or TV programming for four hours after the notification is issued.
“They are different, but complimentary systems and it is important for people to understand their differences,” Duczek said.
To learn how to sign up for the service on your mobile or home phone, or on a dedicated app, visit the Emergency Information page on rdek.bc.ca