New service implemented in Crossfield
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2017 06:00 am
Crossfield is improving its communication channels in the event of an emergency by encouraging residents to sign up for an automated messaging service.
This new mode of communication is tailored to the method that works best for each individual resident, including phone calls, text messages or emails, according to Crossfield Fire Chief Ben Niven.
“We’re trying to make sure we give all solutions possible to notifying citizens of emergency situations in the community,” he said. “This is offering us another tool in the toolbox.”
Previously, the town utilized its communication portfolio when relaying information to the public, which Niven said included media outlets, Facebook, Twitter and the town’s website.
This method, however, did not encompass every resident, he said, as there are some who don’t use social media and others who might not have Internet connection at home.
“Those avenues are still going to be utilized,” Niven said. “This (automated messaging service) is just another way to get information to citizens.”
Being able to communicate emergency situations such as a boil water advisory to the public instantly is crucial from an emergency management standpoint, he said.
Residents must opt-in to the service and choose the modes of communication that work best for them. Niven said this could include calls to cellphones and landlines, text messages and even emails with the ability to do text to speech synthesis.
If someone is unable to answer their phone, Niven said the resident will still receive the message in the form of a voicemail.
The automated messaging service has been in operation since January.
With Crossfield’s population set to grow in the coming years, Niven said it’s essential to get these “footprints” in place to utilize that growth when the time comes.
The Crossfield Fire Department is conducting a door-to-door blitz in May and April to educate and encourage residents to sign up, he added.
To register for the automated messaging service, visit crossfieldalberta.com and click on the emergency services button under the ‘Living in Crossfield’ tab. If residents don’t have Internet access, Niven said staff members at the town office will be equipped to help.
“They can give their information to the front desk and (they’ll) help input it to get them notified,” he said.