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Premier Houston to hold meeting on improving the emergency alert system in wake of recent emergencies

By Joe Thomson Aug 10, 2023 | 5:30 AM

Source: Communications NS

The emergency alert system in Nova scotia has been heavily scrutinized in recent years and the conversation has resurface after the system’s use during the wildfires and last months tragic flooding.

Reports indicate that the first alert that was issued for the dangerous conditions cause by a historic amount of rain hitting Nova Scotia in the span of just a few hours, was sent out at around 10 p.m., almost two hours after reports of people being stranded started to come in.

The flood ended up claiming the lives of fours people, including three children, and outrage over the delay in sending an alert has popped up again.

Premier Tim Houston said today during a press conference that he has ordered a meeting between the province and various first responders to talk about the best way to use the system.

“During emergency situations like this, it’s incredibly important that the officials who have the eyes and ears on the ground who are right there in the thick of it, that they’re listened to, and respected, and that they have proper training in issuing alerts if they’re the ones that are making those decisions,” said Houston.

Currently, the provincial Emergency Management Office handles the alert system for all of Nova Scotia, but Houston said they will discuss giving the power to issue alerts to individual emergency services such as fire departments or police detachments. Alberta already uses a system like this.

Houston says he’s hoping to have the meeting as soon as possible.

“I’m hopeful that that can happen in the next couple of weeks, and we can get a path forward from that, but I would say I feel the urgency to get this right for Nova Scotians,” said Houston.


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