Na­tional Mo­bile Emer­gency Alert sys­tem goes live April 6.

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa

The smart­phone has re­placed so many ev­ery­day items in­clud­ing the per­sonal mu­sic player, cal­en­dar and alarm clock. Now it will be the first line of warn­ing in case of emer­gency.

On April 6, the Na­tional Wire­less Pub­lic Alert­ing will be launched. This means that Cana­di­ans with a cell phone will re­ceive life-threat­en­ing emer­gency alerts to their cell phones and wire­less de­vices.

Lau­ren Arscott, press sec­re­tary for the Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, says in an email this is a col­lab­o­ra­tion among fed­eral, provin­cial, and ter­ri­to­rial gov­ern­ments, cell phone com­pa­nies, broad­cast­ers and the Weather Net­work. This will sup­ple­ment the pub­lic warn­ings that are on TV and ra­dio.

The alerts will ap­pear like a text mes­sage on com­pat­i­ble phones that are 4G LTE. It will be sent through cell broad­cast dis­tri­bu­tion. This is a mo­bile tech­nol­ogy that al­lows mes­sages to be broad­cast to wire­less de­vices in a des­ig­nated geo­graph­i­cal area. This means if there is a lo­cal emer­gency, such as flood­ing, boil wa­ter ad­vi­sories or weather warn­ings such as winds and tor­na­does, de­vices in the area will be alerted.

Drumheller CAO Dar­ryl Dro­homer­ski says cur­rently the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would work through the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert Sys­tem.

Arscott ex­plains this pro­to­col re­mains, and it will con­tinue to uti­lize the provin­cial warn­ing sys­tem.

“Even with this new sys­tem in place, the Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta, through the Al­berta Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, will con­tinue to pro­vide the in­fra­struc­ture, user train­ing, and sup­port for the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert sys­tem,” she states in an email. “In Al­berta, emer­gency alerts will con­tinue to be is­sued by trained lo­cal of­fi­cials, and seam­lessly passed from the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert Sys­tem to the Na­tional Alert Ag­gre­ga­tion and Dis­sem­i­na­tion (NAAD) Sys­tem.

“This means no process change for the users in Al­berta com­mu­ni­ties who are trained to is­sue pub­lic alerts.”

John Shoff of Re­al­ity Bytes, which is a Bell Mo­bil­ity dealer, wel­comes the new sys­tem. To re­ceive an emer­gency alert, the wire­less de­vice must be an LTE de­vice like a smart­phone, pow­ered on, and con­nected to the net­work. It must also be wire­less pub­lic alerts-com­pat­i­ble, mean­ing it must al­low for mes­sages to be sent by the ser­vice provider through a cell broad­cast.

Shoff says by and large most smart­phones are com­pat­i­ble. Cell phone users can check on their providers’ web­site to make sure their phones are com­pat­i­ble.

“It’s nice to see that it is there, I think peo­ple will def­i­nitely uti­lize it,” said Shoff.

Arscott en­cour­ages peo­ple to con­tinue to use the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert mo­bile app.

“The app will con­tinue to be an im­por­tant tool for emer­gency alert­ing, not only be­cause it will take time for wire­less alert­ing to in­clude all mo­bile de­vices, but also be­cause the app can in­clude more in­for­ma­tion, such as maps and more de­tailed in­struc­tions. Al­berta is a leader in emer­gency man­age­ment, and the new fed­eral sys­tem for wire­less alert­ing will be an im­por­tant ad­di­tional tool to en­sure that Al­ber­tans are safe when emer­gen­cies hit.”

To learn more about Na­tional Wire­less Pub­lic Alert­ing, go to www.alertready.ca

Or down­load the Al­berta Emer­gency Alert App www. emer­gen­cyalert.al­berta.ca/

On April 6, Na­tional Wire­less Pub­lic Alert­ing will be launched send­ing emer­gency Alerts to smart­phones.

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