The Village of Ashcroft is rolling out an emergency alert system.
Residents can register for free for Voyent Alert, which will let them know when there are emergency situations in the community. The system will only alert residents to six specific incidents: wildfires, mud or landslides, gas leaks, hazardous or chemical spills, train derailments, or extreme heat.
Messages can be relayed by text, email, voice, or automatic messaging.
“We want to use it for when something important is happening,” Ashcroft CAO Daniela Dyck says. “We want (residents) to actually pause, stop, and read it.”
Ashcroft has been considering an alert system since 2019, two years after the Elephant Hill wildfire. When the fire broke out, the village had limited ways to contact residents, particularly as the power was out for two days. Council looked at various ways to provide a notification system, including a centrally located LED sign or portable messaging board. When residents were surveyed, an alert system received the highest response.
The system, which is the same as the one used by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, will cost the village $1,200 per year. Residents who want to participate in the system must register online for the notification alerts, which will provide critical information such as the location of the incident and preferred evacuation routes.
“We want to increase communications with the public so we can get emergent information out there as quickly as possible,” Dyck says, adding that the village is trying to boost its communications in other ways as well, such as through social media. The village also puts out a newsletter every month.
The village has already trained four staff members in the system, and the alert notification is now live. Since the notice went out to residents Feb. 8, the village has already received a few registrants, Dyck says. Those who need help signing up are welcome to call the village or come in to use the computer in the village office lobby.
“We’re encouraging everyone to register. We think it will be a good piece of education for us to use.”
To learn more, or to download the app, go to https://voyent-alert.com/ca/community/.