Due to the advancements in emergency mass notification technologies available for municipalities, the Town will be moving away from the Safe Communities Alert Network (SCAN) broadcasting system, to focus on the Alberta Emergency Alert (AEA) system for all future emergency notifications. The Town will discontinue SCAN effective May 1, 2021.
“Public Safety is everyone’s responsibility and we want to ensure we are providing them with the easiest and most efficient way of receiving life threatening information,” said Trevor Brice, fire chief and director of emergency management. “This transition to the AEA system simplifies the process for our residents, so there is only one app they need to download to their mobile devices and use as their single source for local emergency notifications.”
The Town had been using both the SCAN and AEA systems, so the transition just simplifies the process to one alert network. The provincial AEA system offers the same ability to push out emergency alerts using wireless public networks specific to a particular geographic area, and, unlike SCAN, has the additional capability of broadcasting messaging on television and radio. AEA also sends out emergency messaging through its website, social media channels, digital road signage and RSS feeds. AEA broadcasted emergency alerts will also be messaged out utilizing the Town website, social media channels and the Eagle 100.9 radio station.
“It is important that all Town residents and businesses are aware of the discontinuation of SCAN and take the time to download the AEA app by the end of the April, as disasters can occur anywhere and at any time,” said Brice. “AEA is there to provide critical information about an immediate disaster, where it is occurring and what action you need to take.”
The Town of Okotoks launched the SCAN alert notification system as part of a regional partnership with other neighbouring municipalities in July 2015 and has over 10,550 citizens registered. The Town is working with the SCAN developers to ensure all confidential information is managed to Canadian FOIP standards. SCAN subscribers will not be transferred to the new AEA system, so they must either download the app or sign up for notifications.