As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, the Town of Altona is testing its outdoor emergency warning siren and Connect notification system later today. At 1pm this afternoon, the siren will sound for four minutes, and a test message will be sent to all those registered with the Connect system via phone call, email and text. If you want to be signed up for the Connect system before today's test, you can do that at Altona's website.
"As people in the community are well aware, we have a an emergency outdoor warning siren that sounds every lunch hour for a short blurp, and that's to make sure it's working," explained Altona Municipal Emergency Coordinator Perry Batchelor. "What we don't know is will it work for four minutes? That's why we do the annual test. The four minute run of the siren is in line with FEMA, and it's a standard across North America. In the event of an emergency, that siren will sound for four minutes, and that's what the test will do on Monday."
Meanwhile, the community will be holding an emergency preparedness expo Wednesday evening (May 10th), starting at 6pm at the Millennium Exhibition Centre. The family friendly event will give town residents the opportunity to learn more about staying safe during an emergency, as well as the opportunity to see some of the community's emergency equipment up close.
"It's a great opportunity to touch a truck, be it a fire truck, a police truck, a front end loader or some of the other equipment that's going to be there," said Batchelor. "You'll also have an opportunity to talk to our emergency social services folks, and that's basically our rec department. In the event of a a major emergency or disaster, our MEC becomes an evacuation center. Something as simple as a major hockey tournament, with a significant blizzard where people can't get home, we may have to put folks up for the night, so our staff is trained in that aspect as well."
And from a general perspective, Batchelor encourages all residents this week to consider whether they're prepared to be self sufficient for the first 72-hours of an emergency or disaster.
"I just think people need to understand the first 72 hours in a disaster is something they have to be prepared to look after themselves," he said. "The biggest question going into Emergency Preparedness Week that you should answer is, 'Are you prepared' You can well imagine if we had a significant event, all of our resources are going to be stretched to the max, and it's important people have things like 72 hour kits."
An example of what a 72-hour kit should include will be on display at Wednesday's expo and open house.
You can listen to CFAM Radio 950 Morning Show Co-Host Chris Sumner's conversation with Batchelor, below.