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What you need to know about COVID-19: October 20, 2020
The Municipality of Victoria County has taken the next step in ensuring timely information is being received by its residents.
The municipality launched a new alert system earlier this month in an attempt to keep residents up to date with critical and non-critical situations affecting the municipality.
The system is provided through Voyent Alert, an Alberta-based company focusing primarily on rural municipalities like Victoria County.
“We’ve been using social media primarily to notify residents in an event of issues going on in our municipality,” said Lyle Donovan, emergency management officer and fire service coordinator for Victoria County.
“We talked about having an alert system for a while, but we couldn’t come up with an exact plan – not everyone has social media, so this new system gives people an avenue to receive information timely.”
The new system, which is free of charge for residents, will be used in various situations. Critical alerts would be issued for hurricanes, floods, forest fires, sudden road closures, and all major issues. Non-critical issues would include water main breaks, waste management collection, etc.
Residents can receive information in four different ways. The system offers notification by SMS text message, voice-to-landline, email and by downloading the Voyent Alert application on cellphones.
Although the system has only been in place for two weeks, Donovan said the feedback has been positive from residents.
“I’ve received numerous messages from people telling me it’s a great system and it’s a great way to be notified,” he said. “Some people thought it was only for critical situations, but really that wasn’t the overall goal – non-critical information is also important.”
“We’ve been using social media primarily to notify residents in an event of issues going on in our municipality,” — Lyle Donovan, emergency management officer and fire service coordinator for Victoria County.
Victoria County has already used the system three times for non-critical issues.
The first came last weekend when the municipality notified residents of the postponement of heavy garbage, scheduled to begin last Monday, due to hurricane Teddy. The second alert came on Saturday, which let people know of a water main break in Neils Harbour.
“We haven’t put out a critical notification as of yet – one will likely be issued for hurricane Teddy once we can confirm the track of the storm,” said Donovan.
Donovan said the system will likely not be used for issues covered by the province’s alert system, including amber alerts.
“We will take out alerts that will affect our municipality that affect municipal issues,” he said. “Anything that’s going to go out provincially we will likely not take out because there’s no need to double up on the alert system.”
According to Statistics Canada, Victoria County had a population of 7,089 as of 2016.
To date, more than 500 people have signed up for the alert service. Donovan said more will likely register in the coming days and weeks once word of the system reaches more residents.
“It’s very simple to register,” said Donovan. “If they need help getting the system, they’re encouraged to contact the municipal office or myself and I will be able to help them through it.”
For more information, or to register, phone the municipal office at 902-295-2117 or phone Donovan at 902-578-1994.