“Amherstburg Alert” to improve notification for residents

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

In the event of an emergency or even a community event, the town has entered into a partnership for improved notification.

The town is now working with Everbridge, described by the town as “the worldwide leader in unified critical communications,” to create “Amherstburg Alert.” That system will allow for quicker notification on emergencies through landline telephones and devices of residents’ choosing.

However, the town states it can be used for other alerts over and above emergencies such as road closures, water and utility maintenance and community events.

Amherstburg fire chief and community emergency management coordinator (CEMC) Bruce Montone said residents have flexibility on what notifications they receive and how they receive them. People can choose what types of notifications they want and the methods they are received and in what order. Should someone want notifications by phone call, text message, e-mail, fax or another method, Montone said the system can accommodate that and go in the order if the resident’s choosing.

“We’ve pre-loaded the system with the white and yellow pages,” said Montone, adding Essex Powerlines has also shared its database.

There are 13,000 phone numbers currently entered into the “Amherstburg Alert” system, but Montone said people are encouraged to visit www.amherstburg.ca/alert and register their cell phones, e-mail addresses, fax numbers and any other information they wish in order to get notifications.

The town will be divided into zones for those needing help getting registered for the “Amherstburg Alert” system. The dates are specified above for when residents can visit the Libro Centre. Help centre hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Those not requiring assistance can register at www.amherstburg.ca/alert.

The town will be divided into zones for those needing help getting registered for the “Amherstburg Alert” system. The dates are specified above for when residents can visit the Libro Centre. Help centre hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Those not requiring assistance can register at www.amherstburg.ca/alert.

Emergency notifications are the default setting, he said, but people can choose other types of notifications when they sign up.

There are also internal uses for the Everbridge software, including letting staff know whether to open the emergency operations centre or the ability to target specific streets or neighbourhoods with notifications.

“We can also look at how many people got the notifications,” said Montone.

Montone said if a notification was sent out to 1,000 people and 500 are known to have actually seen it, there are options to send the notification again to ensure people receive it.

People can register now, but those without Internet access or those needing assistance can go to the Libro Centre over four days in August. Dates are Aug. 8, Aug. 9, Aug. 11 and Aug. 14, depending on what zone a person lives in. The zones are based on the waste collection calendar, Montone said.

Registration for the help centre for “Amherstburg Alert “will open Aug. 8 for those found in the Tuesday area of town. Following Aug, 8 will be Aug. 9, Aug. 11 and Aug. 14. It will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each of those days at the Libro Centre. For questions regarding the help center, please call Fire Station 1 at 519-736-6500. Administration is open from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The information provided is protected, Montone added, and that people have their own passwords when they register that the user determines. He added the system will work best if people keep their information updated.

Everbridge has employed similar systems in Tecumseh, Leamington and Kingsville, Montone said, with LaSalle to join in the fall. The cost to register is free to the users, but costs the municipality $10,000. It is money Montone believes is well worth it.

“If there is any kind of emergency, communication is vital. This is a significant improvement to be able to communicate with the public,” he said. “We have a commitment to ensure public safety, community awareness and emergency response. To uphold this, when critical information and public service announcements are available, we need to reach our residents as quickly and reliably

as possible. The Everbridge emergency notification system allows Amherstburg to disseminate this information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most.”

“A resilient, comprehensive critical communications system is an essential tool for towns that need to notify thousands of residents and businesses rapidly and efficiently,” said Jaime Ellertson, CEO of Everbridge in a press release. “Everbridge is proud to have been selected by Amherstburg as a critical component of its public safety and emergency response program.”

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