The District of Tofino is transitioning to an improved emergency notification platform called ‘Voyent Alert!’ to replace the current ‘One Call Now’ notification system.
District staff began researching and testing new emergency notification systems in response to community feedback and debriefing after the tsunami warning on January 23, 2018.
“After issuing a mass notification during the tsunami warning in January 2018, we received feedback from residents about the current system’s limitations. This led us to look for new solutions to effectively deliver emergency alerts to the public. The new service features the same email, phone, text, and app alerting, along with new features not offered by One Call Now,” said Tofino’s emergency program co-ordinator Keith Orchiston.
Tofino residents and businesses already registered with the One Call Now service do not need to re-register with Voyent Alert!. According to a news release issued by the District of Tofino, the over 1,400 existing One Call Now users will be migrated to the new system, and district staff are working with the service provider to ensure the transition happens efficiently and effectively, while keeping personal privacy and date top-of-mind.
“The community will continue to be covered by One Call Now as we transition to Voyent Alert!, and we’ll be communicating with the public regularly as we make the switch,” said Orchiston.
Voyent Alert!, a Canadian based smart notification system, delivers content that is customized to a recipient’s personal location and circumstances, something that the One Call Now system is not capable of, notes the district’s media release. Voyent Alert! allows subscribers to create and track multiple locations such as “Wickaninnish School”, “Chesterman Beach”, or “My House” and receive notifications that impact their saved locations.
“[Voyent] is media rich. You can download maps and it has more functionality. You can grow with this one as well,” said Orchiston, adding that once Voyent Alert! is underway, he sees the district using it for not just emergency purposes, but for day-to-day notifications like recycling pick-up.
On Feb. 7, the first Friday of the month, the District of Tofino will not be sending out a One Call Now email or text notification to registered residents as they begin to make the switch over to Voyent Alert!. However, the tsunami sirens will still go off at 11 a.m.
Registration for the Voyent Alert! system will be open soon. The old One Call Now system will remain operationally ready during the transition period, and be retired in Spring, 2020.
Useful Link: www.tofino.ca/emergency-notifications