Alberta starts broadcasting emergency alerts on electronic billboards

Billboard decision delayed for Circle Drive South at committee meeting in Saskatoon.
Alberta will now use digital billboards to share information about emergency alerts. Brent McGillivray / Global News

EDMONTON — Beginning Wednesday, the Alberta government will use outdoor, digital billboards in Edmonton and Calgary to spread information in times of emergency, including Amber Alerts.

The province is working with Astral Out-Of-Home to get the alerts on billboards in the two cities: two in Calgary and 19 in Edmonton.

The system was in place as of Wednesday.

“Alberta Emergency Alert is an important tool for protecting Albertans and we are happy to be a part of this action plan,” said Luc Quetel, the company’s president.

“Through our digital boards in Calgary and Edmonton we are able to reach thousands of Albertans and rapidly spread the word about missing children and other potential threats.”

READ MORE: Facebook Amber Alert system launches in Canada 

Earlier this year, Facebook started putting Amber Alerts on users’ news feeds.

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Working with police forces across the country, the program provides details about the missing child, along with a photo and all available details surrounding their possible abduction, on users’ mobile news feeds. The notifications are only delivered to users within the search area.

“When a child is abducted, the most valuable thing we can do is spread the word as quickly as possible,” said Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada’s head of public policy.

“By getting the right information to the right people at the right time through targeted Amber Alerts on Facebook, we hope to reunite missing children with their families faster.”

You can find out about Alberta Emergency Alerts online, follow them on Twitter, or download the app on your smartphone.

“Time is critical when a child has gone missing,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs Deron Bilous, “which is why I’m pleased our government is partnering with these companies to reach Albertans as quickly as possible.”