In our previous blog post, we shared a breakdown on the January tsunami warning that occurred up and down the West Coast of British Columbia. Some communities were more prepared than others—but for every community, it was an important reminder to review the warning and communication systems in place and fill in the gaps that were brought to light by the experience.
Across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, tsunamis are not a major concern, but other natural disasters have these prairie provinces prioritizing emergency preparedness in other ways.
After BC’s tsunami warning in January, we feel it’s important to remind everyone to sign up for emergency alerts, national and provincial. Now we’re looking towards our inland neighbours, and at the warning systems they have in place. For all of you prairie folk who are on the alert for drought, wildfires, tornadoes and floods, please keep reading for a breakdown of the resources available to you in your regions. And remember, although Total Prepare’s physical store is on Vancouver Island, all of our emergency supplies are available to you online – including fully equipped survival kits, emergency food, camping gear and so much more!
In Alberta, a provincial alert system is in place through Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) that will send alerts directly to whichever devices you choose, via Twitter, Facebook or RSS. It’s also easy to get the app for your cellphone! It only takes a few moments of your day to sign up and could save your life and the lives of your loved ones in the case of an emergency!
Through this system, you’ll receive critical alerts for immediate and life-threatening danger, as well as informational alerts used for preparation, and test alerts which are always good practice. For any questions you need answered, check out their FAQ section here!
In 2015, Saskatchewan launched a new, province-wide alert system called SaskAlert. Not only does it provide real-time notifications and information about natural disasters, it warns community members of hazardous material spills, train derailments, significant highway closures and evacuations.
“SaskAlert can provide critical information about emergency situations as they are developing so residents of the affected area will be able to take action to protect themselves, their families and property,” said Jim Reiter, the government relations minister [as quoted by Global News, in April 2015].
Residents can receive alerts via smartphone, tv, radio and by checking online. And these alerts can be issued by Environment Canada, Government of Saskatchewan ministries, Crowns and agencies as well as participating local governing jurisdictions. Check out this page to learn how to sign up for their app!
Because this system is fairly new, it does require some more testing. One piece that does seem to be missing from this system is that it doesn’t include amber alerts. Perhaps it’s something that will be added in the future. For now, the more people who sign up for the alerts and get involved in emergency preparedness on a community level—voicing their concerns—the better!
Also in 2015, Manitoba started province-wide testing on an emergency alert system called Alert Ready (linked to the National alert system). At the start, it only worked with radio and television broadcasts (with the capability to override any other broadcasts in the event of life-threatening emergencies).
Much more recently, Alert Ready made life-threatening emergency alerts available via cell phones and other wireless devices, which was much needed. It still needs some work, but you can check if your phone is compatible here.
The fact that this system in particular is in-progress and needs work is an important reminder to take on the responsibility of emergency awareness and preparedness as an individual. Check the weather reports frequently and have your supplies ready! And if you can, share what you learn with your community, too!
Bringing it Home
Wherever in Canada you call home, we’d love to hear from you! Please check out our blog and our shop let us know if you have any questions about emergency preparedness plans or products—we’ll be happy to help you get totally prepared.
-Written by Sophie Wooding