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Saskatchewan to test emergency notification system

Testing of new provincial emergency notification system to take place in western Saskatchewan during February. Adrian Raaber / Global news

REGINA – The province will begin testing of an emergency notification system next month. SaskAlert will be tested in western Saskatchewan starting Feb. 1.

Jim Reiter, the government relations minister, says the upcoming testing will allow program developers to access the capacity of the system.

“SaskAlert is a valuable tool which will enable participating municipalities, government agencies and other trained stakeholders to share vital information directly with residents when an emergency strikes,” said Reiter.

The City of Saskatoon launched a similar program in 2014. NotifyNOW allows people in Saskatoon to receive e-mail messages in the event of an emergency situation.

READ MORE: Saskatoon launches new mass notification system

Duane McKay, emergency management and fire safety commissioner, says the initial cost is insignificant and the program will cost about $700,000 to roll out province-wide.

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Once implemented, the alert system will send out notifications of public emergencies including tornadoes, train derailments and wildfires.

During testing, people will see test alerts on websites, TV channel and social media which will be clearly marked as “test only.” If a real emergency occurs during testing, SaskAlert will be used to issue live alerts.

The government plans to implement the program in early 2016 and will eventually be part of a national program.

With files from The Canadian Press

Testing of new provincial emergency notification system to take place in western Saskatchewan during February. Handout / Government of Saskatchewan

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