British Columbia’s public safety minister says an automated alert system will be in place in June to notify residents of dangerously high temperatures like last year’s fatal heat dome.
Mike Farnworth made the comment during a Vancouver news conference with federal ministers as they outlined wildfire response and prevention funding.
Alert Ready is a tool used by governments across the country to broadcast warnings on radio and television stations, as well as compatible wireless devices.
Farnworth announced last week the tool is ready for use during floods and that it would be expanded to wildfires in June. At the time, he said more work needed to be done by health officials to determine the parameters for a heat warning.
However, on Friday, he said launching the alert system in June has always been the government’s intention.
“Previously, we’ve been prepared to deploy the system for tsunami warning, civil emergencies and Amber Alerts. But now we’re online for flood dangers and the system will go further to expand wildfire threats by early June and heat alerts at the same time,” Farnworth told a crowd gathered at the HMCS Discovery Naval Reserve in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
In response to a question about the timeline, Farnworth said: “It has always been our plan that it would be ready by June.”
The BC Coroners Service has said scorching temperatures last summer caused nearly 600 heat-related deaths.
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