The Town of Smithers unveiled its new emergency notification system on Tuesday, May 22.
The system, powered by Everbridge, will alert residents to various emergencies such fires, floods and other events. Messages will be sent to users on their preferred method of contact: cell phone, home phone, text, email, or work phone.
Unlike other mass notification systems once an alert is sent users can respond to verify they received the message.
“That’s going to be a powerful tool if there are geographically limited emergencies that our staff and agencies are dealing with,” Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said. “They’ll be able to notify residents in that immediate vicinity and then confirm that all the people who are on the notification system have received the notice that went out.”
Residents can also download the Everbridge app to receive notifications.
Users can opt in to receive non-emergency alerts such as notifications about service disruptions, when taxes are due and recreational programs.
“I think it’s going to be a neat tool for the town to increase engagement and communication with residents,” Bachrach said. “Which has been a big focus of what we’ve been trying to do over the past few years.”
Residents living within the town boundaries as well as residents living in the rural area directly surrounding Smithers within eight kilometers of the fire hall will be covered in the system.
The notification system will cost the town around $7,500 annually fire chief for Smithers Fire Rescue, Keith Stecko, said.
“There’s no emergency service that has an infinite number of resources,” Stecko said. “We want to get to people that are in real danger now and this program will help us do that.”