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Greater Victoria municipalities advocate for local emergency alert systems

Reminders follow Jan. 15 tsunami warning across the Pacific
Vic-Alert informs subscribers of major emergencies or disasters that could affect city of Victoria locations and residents. They include wide threats such as tsunamis, local incidents such as gas leaks, and neighbourhood-specific concerns such as an evacuation order. (Black Press Media file photo)

Following Saturday’s warning of potential tsunamis across North America, a number of municipalities took to social media to remind residents of locally focused, mobile emergency alert systems.

Vic-Alert informs subscribers of major emergencies or disasters that could affect the City of Victoria. They include wide threats (such as tsunamis), local incidents (such as a gas leak) or even neighbourhood-specific concerns such as an evacuation order.

Vic-Alert uses Alertable software, as does Westshore Alert, which provides Langford, View Royal, Colwood and the Highlands with the same degree of emergency warning.

Residents of North Saanich, Sidney and Central Saanich can turn to Saanich Peninsula Alert, which uses a locally developed system powered by Connect Rocket software.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: All B.C. Tsunami advisories cleared

Signing up for the City of Victoria, Westshore or Saanich Peninsula’s alert systems for mobile phones, tablets or computers is free.

To sign up for mobile alerts from Vic-Alert or Westshore Alert, download the Alertable app on a smartphone. “The app offers more features than the other sign-up options, such as maps, pictures, and additional incident details. Therefore, we highly recommend signing up for the app,” reads the City of Victoria’s website.

Registration for text, email or phone call alerts from Vic-Alert can also be done via the City of Victoria’s “Emergency Preparedness: Stay Informed” web page. Users can register as many phone numbers or email addresses as they like, including those of family members or others.

READ ALSO: Sooke moves to new emergency notification system

To register for Saanich Peninsula Alerts for text, phone or email alerts, register at

According to Saanich communications manager Megan Catalano, the region’s largest municipality does not currently have a subscriber-based alert system, but uses other methods.

“If there is a risk to the public, we work with our partners to ensure our residents who require notification are informed,” she told Black Press Media. “This can be done using social media, intrusive radio/television broadcasting alerts, or door-to-door notification. Specific to tsunamis, the province will issue an alert if a tsunami warning is issued.”

An estimated 30 per cent of BC cellphones are connected to the provincial Alert Ready BC system, but as the City of Victoria notes on their website, it may not provide warnings specific to cities or neighbourhoods.

The national emergency alert system, Alert Ready, is responsible for alerting threats beyond the scope of local authorities, according to their website. They include extremely large natural events (such as earthquakes, magnetic storms or even meteor strikes), civil emergencies involving the federal government or threats to national security.

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