The Vic-Alert automated warning system sent word to thousands of South Island subscribers early Tuesday morning about the potential tsunami hazard. Roughly 6,500 people were signed up for the service before the tsunami warning, and as of mid-morning Tuesday, approximately 23,000 were on board. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

The fledgling emergency alert system, Vic-Alert, received an unexpected boost in popularity after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake centered 280 km west of Kodiak, Alaska prompted an early morning tsunami alert to be issued Tuesday.

Launched about nine months ago by Emergency Management Victoria, Vic-Alert allows people to register their phone numbers – cell phones or land lines – and email addresses for free to receive warnings, updates and helpful instructions in the event of emergencies that may impact the community.

When the earthquake struck, phones across the city began buzzing with the first tsunami warning issued at 2:43 a.m. The Vic-Alert system sent warnings to everyone registered in the affected areas and offered advice on where to go and what to do.

Although the tsunami alert was ultimately cancelled at 4:40 a.m., the utility of the system resulted in a tidal wave of registrations for the service.

“Yesterday we had a total of about 6,500 people registered with Vic-Alert,” said Tanya Patterson, the City of Victoria’s emergency preparedness co-ordinator. “As of this morning we have 23,000 people registered for the system, so I guess word got out about the service and people have realized it’s a good thing to install on their phones.”

The system is designed to inform people in and around Victoria about events that could potentially impact their health and safety. It will also issue alerts about missing persons with immediate safety or medical concerns, dangerous situations such as armed robberies in progress, and a variety of natural disasters or weather warnings.

While the system is specifically designed to issue warnings about Victoria proper, Patterson said Sidney and North Saanich have their own systems, as do the Gulf Islands. Other municipalities, including Esquimalt and Saanich, are said to be exploring similar systems.

Patterson pointed out that people outside the City of Victoria are able to register for the alerts, but need to be aware that the warnings are geographically specific to Victoria.

The alerts go out regardless of where the person may be at the time, she added. “You don’t have to physically be in Victoria to receive the alert. It goes out to the registered number or email address regardless of where you are.”

In addition to the Vic-Alert system, Emergency Management Victoria provides free, monthly, public information systems at Victoria City Hall and will bring the information sessions to other locations at the request of community organizations.

To register, simply visit https://vic-alert.connectrocket.com and follow the links.

The same site provides a wealth of information on emergency preparedness, including a helpful brochure and a video on what the average person can do to prepare themselves for emergency situations.

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Building permits up, but residential construction softening in Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria led the province in issuing new building permits in August

Grumpy Taxpayer$ offer Saanich News reporter inaugural media award

Black Press journalist wrote on permissive tax exemptions

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Alleged child abduction attempt in Langford a family issue, RCMP say

Const. Matt Baker with West Shore RCMP says parents should not worry

‘Spread love’: UVic Pride replaces white supremacy posters in Victoria

Around 50 people walked through downtown on Nov. 12 to share posters of love

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

B.C. cheese linked to 5 E. coli cases

People are asked to throw out or return ‘Qualicum Spice’ cheese

Search and rescue piggybacks plucky injured senior out of Vancouver Island woods

Rescue crews don’t have same success with dog swept away by Comox Valley river

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

B.C. city councillor resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says Laurie Guerra’s resignation is effective Nov. 12

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

Most Read