Saskatoon’s emergency management co-ordinator was out Monday to reassure people about the city’s notification system in the wake of a highly publicized mix-up in Hawaii.
Everyone in the U.S. state got an emergency message Saturday warning of an impending ballistic missile strike. It was later revealed the alert was sent in error.
Deb Davies, emergency management organization co-ordinator with the City of Saskatoon, said she couldn’t help but cringe a little as the story spread of the mishap in Hawaii.
“I can’t imagine what the citizens of Hawaii went through. And being one of the administrators of NotifyNow, it did make me a little uncomfortable,” she said at a press conference at city hall on Monday.
NotifyNow was introduced in Saskatoon in 2014. The system requires people to opt in to get notifications about things which could affect public safety, such as hazardous material spills or incoming severe weather. People who choose to sign up can pick if they want to get messages by phone, email or text message.
Davies said a false alarm like the one seen in Hawaii remains a remote possibility in Saskatoon.
“When we send those messages out, we read, re-read, send them to ourselves, make sure the format is how we intend,” she said.
Davies said NotifyNow has been used roughly once a month since it was launched nearly four years ago, alongside regular testing.
“We test twice a year and we have not had a situation where such a drastic missed message has gone out.”
More information on NotifyNow is available on the City of Saskatoon website.