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Wednesday , 21 October 2020

M.D. moving forward with emergency app

App will notify residents of emergency situations

M.D. councillors approved an emergency notifications smartphone app last week, which would allow for a more streamlined notification system in the event of an emergency.

According to M.D. Reeve Greg Sawchuk the idea for the app comes from residents requesting to be more “in the know” of emergency situations in the area.

“Events like the Moose Lake fire show us just how well equipped people are to get information out quickly over source like Facebook, so there’s a clear want for the average citizen to be informed about these things,” said Sawchuk on the Morning After.

The app, run through the company Voyent, will send out messages to residents about high water levels, fires, amber alerts, water quality, extreme weather, and whatever else communications officers deem necessary.

There is no set start date for app yet.

Councillors asked whether crime activity would be part of the app, which was met with hesitation.

“A large concern that comes up when you talk about crime notifications is the possibility of a perpetrator having the app installed and being notified of police activity,” said environment and protective services general manager Matt Janz during the meeting. “Something like that would be detrimental.”

Sawchuk also weighed in on the issue.

“It’s a touchy one. RCMP have always pointed out that when they’re dealing with a crime in progress, there’s certain information they don’t want getting out. So that’s something we’ll have to discuss with them when the time comes.”

Current estimates place the yearly cost of the app at $4900 per year and would be run through the public safety department, communications department, and fire services.

In the event of an emergency, all residents registered on the app would receive a notification.

Once it launches it will be optional for residents, meaning it will be up to the public to provide the necessary contact information.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.