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Kinks worked out after Kootenay Boundary emergency test alert

RDKB system allows EOC to send out emergency notifications

Did you get an emergency test alert from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) back on Friday, June 21?

If so, you were one of 1,200 electronic notifications sent out over 45 minutes, starting at 10:30 a.m. that day, when the regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) put their new system to task for the first time.

Previous: RDKB offers emergency alert app

A few kinks in the chain did surface, as with most new software services, but they’ve since been worked out.

“The time it took for notifications to be received, we can see this occurring live, was longer than we anticipated,” says regional spokesperson Frances Maika.

“That said, it was still much, much faster than hand delivering notices or doing direct dial outs, by a large margin.”

The purpose of the test was to exercise the system so operations could expose any potential issues and resolve them before an emergency takes place.

“After the test, the service provider, Voyent Alert, identified a system configuration setting that affected how messages were prioritized when they were sent out,” Maika explained.

“And this created temporary delivery bottlenecks (meaning) an incorrect setting caused the system to wait until some messages were delivered before delivering others,” she said.

“The service provider has already corrected the problem we observed (delayed delivery of some messages), and the test successfully exposed that problem in advance of us using the system for an actual emergency.”

Word about this new service appears to be spreading, because Maika says more than 100 new followers have signed on since the initial test.

“We now have just over 1300 subscribers and people continue to sign up,” she told the Trail Times.

“And the RDKB looks forward to having this tool available to our EOC staff so we can inform RDKB residents and visitors as quickly as possible of any evacuation alerts, orders or other crucial emergency information.”

Mobile app users can download and install the Voyent Alert! app from the Apple App or Google Play stores. Email, SMS or voice dial users can register online to receive email, voice or text-based alerts using a link on the regional district’s home page, rdkb.com.

Registration for the service is free, and anonymous. Residents can cancel their registration or change their settings at any time.

“Communication during emergencies is critical,” said RDKB Board Chair Roly Russell. “And in this case we’ve put a platform in place but we need people to sign up in order for it to help you.”



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