Download the Free Alertable App for City Emergency Notifications
Port Coquitlam, BC – May 7, 2022… Starting May 7, Port Coquitlam residents can sign up to receive City emergency alerts from the free Alertable app.
Launched as part of Emergency Preparedness Week May 1 to 7, the new service allows subscribers to stay up-to-date with emergency alerts – such as fires, floods, earthquakes, storms and other hazards in the community. The Alertable app can be downloaded for free through the App Store, Google Play or links at portcoquitlam.ca/alertable.
“Most people keep their mobile phone within arm’s reach, so this is a reliable and fast way to get important emergency information to residents when time is of the essence,” Mayor Brad West said. “It’s important for people to know that these are local alerts that directly affect our community. The cause may be regional in nature – like a flood – but if it affects Port Coquitlam, you’ll hear about it through the app. It’s a convenient way to get notified quickly about what to do and directly from the City on emerging events that affect you, such as large fires, gas leaks or hazardous materials.”
During larger regional emergencies, Alertable works in tandem with provincial or federal notification systems by providing localized information and instructions from the City’s staff or Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). The notifications pushed through the app can also be found by searching the location on the Alertable website, alertable.ca.
Alertable app notifications can be personalized by type, severity and sound level. The app also does not require widespread user tests, as with other emergency notification systems.
Residents can ask questions at the Emergency Preparedness Booth at the May Days Party in the Square May 7, 12 to 5 p.m. in Leigh Square.
“These alerts will add another layer to our existing outreach methods when we need to inform the community of emergencies,” noted Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate for community safety matters. “It makes sense to leverage technology to provide people with up-to-the-minute information. During evacuations, for example, the app will help alert people more quickly than traditional methods like signs and door-knocking.”
Port Coquitlam joins a growing number of cities in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere that have signed up for Alertable. The app was developed by Public Emergency Alerting Services Inc. (PEASI), a Canadian mass notification software company involved in developing industry standards and guidelines for public alerts and notifications in Canada and around the world.
The app is the latest addition to the City’s ongoing emergency planning work that includes public education – such as free community courses and resources at portcoquitlam.ca/ep – along with training of staff and volunteers, participating in local and regional exercises, stockpiling equipment and resources, and preparing Emergency Support Services (ESS) that will offer reception centres, lodging and other help after a disaster.
The City chose not to add the emergency notification feature to its existing free PoCo Sort & Report App to ensure that important alerts are not overlooked amid the app’s other notifications.
Using the Alertable App
Residents can download the Alertable app at any time, and will begin receiving Port Coquitlam alerts after the local service goes live May 7.
Residents should note, the Alertable app is not to be confused with the national public alerting system, Alert Ready. The two systems are used for different types of notifications, e.g. Alert Ready provides generalized emergency notifications province-wide and Alertable will be used by City staff to advise residents of emergencies that require immediate action(s) to protect life and property. The best way to get all relevant notifications within the community is to download Alertable.
All app users receive Critical Alerts for large-scale emergencies and natural disasters, including evacuation alerts and orders. However, users can choose to make their Critical Alerts silent or have sounds, and whether sounds override their device’s silent mode.
Other customizable features include:
- Selected location for alerts (currently the entire City of Port Coquitlam),
- Option to receive Advisory Alerts about disruptions and events that may escalate,
- Option to receive Information Alerts about news and events in their selected locations,
- Option to have sounds accompany notifications, and
- Option to receive Critical Alerts in your current location even when outside your selected location.
Future app features being considered include limiting alerts to a defined area or neighbourhood within the City, and two-way communications with users.
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Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam