With the recent weather warnings that have taken place in Martensville and other areas throughout the province, it is important to ensure that you are prepared for emergency situations. This past weekend, six tornados touched down in Saskatchewan, reminding us all that although uncommon, these things can happen in our own backyard.
When it comes to staying on top of all weather warnings for your immediate area, some options are to download the free SaskAlert app, which is the Government of Saskatchewan’s emergency public alerting program. This will provide details about any emergencies taking place in real time, allowing you the opportunity to prepare. This particular app will include weather alerts from Environment Canada consisting of tornado watches and warnings, blizzards, blowing snow, dust storms, extreme cold, freezing rain, heat and rainfall, severe thunderstorms, snowfall, wind and winter storm. Other alerts come from the province and local municipalities and First Nations, which can include wildfires, flooding, train derailments, power outages, drinking water advisories, local emergency declarations, communication outages, road closures and evacuations. Another option is to sign up for all alerts through The Weather Network at weatherwatchers.ca. This is once again, a free service which will send alerts to your email or cell phone as a text message.
The City of Martensville has an emergency notification system called notifynow; however, notifynow does not issue weather advisories unless there is an immediate and confirmed risk to the community. During weather warnings such as the local tornado warning that took place Sunday, July 16th, Tracy Wilson-Gerwing, the City of Martensville Emergency Measures Coordinator keeps a close eye on any further developments and watches for any threat to Martensville. “I was closely monitoring the weather, weather alerts, forecast and the radar on Sunday. What we saw happen is a prime example of why notifynow leaves the weather alerts to the weather experts. There were 10 alerts sent out between 3:10pm and 6:31pm regarding the risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, but ultimately, no adverse weather was observed in Martensville,” Gerwing explained. The Emergency Measures Organization within Martensville is there to ensure that the City of Martensville is prepared and able to promptly and effectively respond to any hazards, disasters and emergencies, as well as provide information to residents about potential hazards, disasters or emergencies, and prepare residents for these emergency situations.
Gerwing continued to explain why notifynow does not send out weather alerts. “The concern is that if notifynow starts to issue all weather alerts, of which there are many during the summer months, people will begin to ignore our notifications and will be unprepared if a significant event does occur.”
If, on Sunday, the weather was to take a considerable turn and cause threat to the residents of Martensville, notifynow would issue an alert providing a few brief statements about what was happening, and the immediate actions to be taken by the residents and as the event develops, notifynow would provide updates, information and further instructions. Notifynow can alert you to many emergency situations that could occur within Martensville, and will notify you via landline, cell phone, email, TTY services and fax numbers.
For more information about the City of Martensville’s EMO, or about notifynow, or to sign up, visit www.martensville.ca/pages/emergency__protective_services.html.