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City of Moncton launches "Moncton Alerts" program

October 9, 2014

City of Moncton launches "Moncton Alerts" program
New emergency notification system for residents and businesses' employees

MONCTON – The City of Moncton is launching Moncton Alerts, a new notification system that would send out critical information and instructions to residents and people working in Moncton during a major emergency. Called Sentinel, this Emergency Management tool is used by the municipal emergency measures team to deal with significant incidents.

"We are fortunate to live in a resilient community, where neighbours are known to lend a helping hand in times of need. However, when a major situation arises, using Sentinel will make it much easier for us to communicate with citizens and provide them with the information they need, in a timely fashion. Though it will only be used for major situations, which are quite rare, I urge everyone to sign-up for this free service. It is another way we hope to help our residents in difficult times, but its success depends on their participation," said Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc.

"This new service allows anyone with a valid address within Moncton to sign up to receive notices, in their preferred language and method of communication," explains Eric Arsenault, Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Measures for the City of Moncton. "This powerful system also has a mapping feature that allows us to focus on certain areas during a crisis, for example during a severe weather incident or industrial accident. So registering under key addresses, such as your home, your children's school/daycare or your workplace, will provide you with valuable information from a reliable source. However, notifications will only be sent to those registered, so it's really important to sign-up."

Who can register?
Anyone with a valid address in Moncton (for example, work or home) can sign-up. As such, businesses located in Moncton can encourage their employees to sign-up; no limits have been set on the number of people registered to a particular civic address. Therefore, each member of a household, with distinct email addresses and/or cell phone numbers, can also register.

Steps to register
Registering to receive Moncton Alerts is quite simple and only take 2-3 minutes. The personal contact information provided will be used to reach out only in serious situations, and will be kept confidential by a third-party secure database management system. Residents can choose one or several preferred methods of communication, for example if someone prefers receiving a voicemail at home, or a text message on their personal cell phone. Parameters will be set so that Sentinel checks in with those registered approximately twice a year to ensure the continued accuracy of the database. Sign-up today
Sentinel – An overview
The City of Moncton's MEMO team (Municipal Emergency Measures Organization) is using this web-based system to manage emergencies and all the information needed to respond to a major emergency. Generally, these crises will be natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding or major winter storms. Sentinel allows the MEMO team to contact suppliers/partners, residents and/or employees to provide instructions (ex. evacuation notice during an industrial accident/fire), request assistance (ex. calling in the Red Cross or borrowing equipment) or call-in additional resources when all hands are needed on-deck. By using a web-based application, key stakeholders can support operations from various locations as required.

Sentinel's headquarters is based in Bathurst, New Brunswick, and their product meets the needs of various emergency responders – including the Province of New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization. This home-grown company has supported numerous large-scale emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy in 2013 on the Atlantic coast, and provides 24/7 support to emergency service providers when situations are in progress. www.sentinelsystems.ca

Reminder – Fire Prevention Week Open House
On Saturday, October 11, the Moncton Fire Department will be hosting its annual Open House event in recognition of Fire Prevention Week. This year, the event is moving to the Hildegard Fire Station (99 Hildegard Dr.), and will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. City of Moncton employees will be on site to promote the Moncton Alerts program.

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Nicole O. Melanson
Communications, City of Moncton
506-383-6214 / Nicole.melanson@moncton.ca
Eric Arsenault
Fire Chief, Moncton Fire Department
506-857-8800 / eric.arsenault@moncton.ca