Sidney Fire Chief Brett Mikkelson stands with a sign advertising the Town’s emergency notification system. To date it has more than 1,200 people signed up. (Steven Heywood/News staff file)

Emergency Notification Systems working for residents of the Saanich Peninsula

Fire Prevention Week: Oct. 8-14

There’s another tool out there for local fire departments to help keep people safe.

It’s called an Emergency Notification System and all three fire departments on the Saanich Peninsula have one.

Simply put, it’s a voluntary system that requires people to sign up for phone calls, emails or text messages from each of the three fire departments.

In an emergency situation, where those officials deem it necessary to notify a large area or group of people, they will send messages explaining what to do and where to go.

In North Saanich, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Knapp says there are around 350 people signed up for the service. Knapp added their next big mass notification will be a test on Oct. 19 during Shakeout B.C. — a province-wide earthquake drill.

“It’s just another tool in the toolbox (in emergency preparation),” he said.

In Central Saanich, their emergency notification system has more than 200 people enrolled.

“It’s an extremely important tool, used in the right circumstances,” said Fire Chief Chris Vrabel.

While the system does lend itself mostly to large-scale emergencies, Vrabel added it’s also handy when traffic had to be notified of a detour in other emergency situations.

The Central Saanich system is currently not taking any more sign-ups, but Vrabel indicated that will soon start up again and encouraged residents to watch for their opportunity to do so.

Sidney is, so far, leading the way in voluntary sign-ups with more than 1,200. That’s around 10 per cent of the population and Deputy Fire Chief Mike Harman said that’s a great reaction in the system’s first year of operation (it had its first anniversary on Oct. 1).

Harman said the system was actually put into service twice in its first year: once when the Peninsula was expected to be hit by the tail end of Hurricane Tonga last November, and the other when there was a gas leak near North Saanich Middle School.

Harman said the system is used for incidents that can affect a large amount of people and typically used sparingly — so that people do not “get used to it” and its signal is lost in the noise of our day-to-day lives.

To learn more about the emergency notification systems in your Saanich Peninsula community, contact your local fire department.

Just Posted

Man struck and killed on the Pat Bay Highway

Pedestrian struck while crossing near Mount Newton X Rd in Central Saanich

VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

Six officers, including three school liaisons, to be reassigned to frontline duties

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Joining the new wave of women in trades

Pair of Saanich residents among women joining trades

Affordable housing development leaves neighbours concerned

A 90-unit proposal on Prosser Rd. is before Central Saanich council

WATCH: Officers recognized at 10th anniversary of anti-impaired driving program

Alexa’s Team has grown from 26 members in 2008 to the current 2,400

Saanich Police pull over Pink Flamingo

Saanich Police are reminding the public to properly tie down items after… Continue reading

COLUMN: Stanley Cup playoff second-round predictions

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins continue their quest for their third straight Stanley Cup

B.C. seeks court ruling on new pipeline regulations

Province wants to require permits for any new bitumen transport

LIVE: TSB findings on plane crash that killed former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice

The TSB will announce its findings and the Capital News will follow.

Former child watchdog to head UBC centre on residential schools

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead university’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Saanich MLA says business world prepared her for political arena

Lana Popham says the work will never end on the equality front, but each success makes it easier for the next person

Federal Green Party leader says finances were her biggest career obstacle

Elizabeth May lists her mother as her main role model

Man dead after possible attack near Vancouver casino

A 38-year-old man with ‘serious injures’ was rushed to hospital but died in surgery

Most Read