Port Alice Emergency Coordinator Maria Farrell appeared as a delegation at the Sept. 9 council meeting to talk about a new alert system for the community.
Farrell explained she has been in contact with Adam Burns from Connect Rocket, that is looking for 10 small communities to participate in a new alert system. Connect Rocket had two takers as of the Sept. 9 meeting.
Farrell explained the service involves mass notifications to cell and house phones in the event of an emergency such as a tsunami. Registered visitors would also be notified.
It would cost the community $1,000 for initial set-up and training costs to come on board. Then there would be a monthly base fee of between $100 and $200 plus usage which could be either four cents or two cents per phone number depending on whether there is a voice or text message that goes out.
An email option is also available.
Those messages would go out in 30 seconds, Farrell said.
Mayor Jan Allen was skeptical asking why, if this is a North American service, only two communities have “jumped on board. I don’t know why there’s so many people not jumping on it.”
“No money changes hands until we see the product. If they don’t hold up their end of the bargain we can pull out,” Farrell said.
“I’m not opposed, but I think we actually need more information on both of these (options) before we move forward,” Allen said.
While it takes only 15 minutes to install the program, there was some concern about whether Port Alice’s internet would be capable of handling the load. Farrell and Chief Administrator Madeline McDonald agreed to do some more research and bring the issue back to the council meeting Oct. 14.
Connect Rocket was originally conceived as a more reliable tasking tool for what was then the Canadian Coast Guard Auxilliary. The company is headquartered in Vancouver, B.C.