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The Runner | Surrey joins Alertable app to send emergency alerts to residents

The City of Surrey joined Alertable in May and is also encouraging residents to do so. (Dani Penaloza)

The City of Surrey was recently part of the notification networkand encourages residents to sign up to receive emergency notifications about extreme weather, natural disasters and other dangerous events.

With the ability to receive notifications on your cell phone, home phone or email, Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas hopes people, digitally connected or not, can be better informed of emergencies and responses. from the city.

The ability to receive alerts via landline phones is one of the main reasons the city chose to join Alertable, as opposed to other emergency notification networks.

“We know a lot of older people – people over 70 who were vulnerable to the heated dome – only have their old home phones or hard-line phones… they can register with that number and their phone will ring . Usually they respond and then they can hear the message from the city’s emergency program,” says Thomas.

Last summer, 619 people died during the heat dome and 67% were 70 or older, and 56% lived alone. According to coroner’s report.

By making emergency alerts more accessible to everyone, Thomas hopes it will close the fatal gap that the Surrey Fire Service observed last year if a similar extreme weather situation happened again.

Now, if in another heat wave, Thomas says they could send out alerts letting people know how and where the city is offering a heat reprieve, information about heat-related emergency signs and symptoms to monitor and messages from the health authority.

“It starts with the individuals themselves to be prepared,” says Thomas.

Since the city joined the network in May, around 6,700 people have already signed up, and with more promotion and door-to-door support to sign up, they hope to increase that number.

Using Alertable to inform and warn people of severe weather is part of Surrey Severe Weather Action Plan —- a coordinated response to extreme heat, cold and smoke —- which has been endorsed by Surrey City Council June 27.

The app is available for download on Apple and Android devices. Once the app is installed on your phone, click on the app and enter ‘Surrey’ in the location search bar. A highlighted area will appear on the map, then click “Next”.

After that, users can decide if they want the app to “follow” you. This means that the app will track your geographic location to send you personalized, location-specific “nearby” notifications.

Next, select the type of notifications you want to receive. Critical notifications are always enabled, but you can enable advisory and informational alerts. Then you can select the sound you want for alerts and then click “Finish”.

“I think the bottom line is that there’s a lot of good information that can come if you sign up for the Alertable app. [during] an emergency,” says Thomas.