Nova Scotia announced on Thursday the Nova Scotia RCMP and Halifax Regional Police (HRP) now have direct access to the Alert Ready System, which can send notifications to cellphones, radio and television.
“Protecting the public is serious and difficult work, and we know that in certain situations alerts are one of the tools that can help to do that,” said Brendan Maguire, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office (EMO), in a statement. “The alert system is something we have every confidence in, whether alerts are issued by police or EMO.”
Nova Scotia says the option is available to other policing services across the province if they also desire to use it.
Direct access to Alert Ready comes just over one year when a gunman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. During the crisis, provincial police and RCMP tried putting out an ‘active shooter’ Alert Ready warning to cellphones, but confusion resulted in the federal police force relying on Twitter to alert the public.
According to The Globe and Mail, Ontario and New Brunswick police forces also have direct access to the Alert Ready national alerting system, which has since been used for active shooter alerts.
With direct access, police can issue an alert much faster without requiring the help of the EMO. Both RCMP and HRP have been trained to use Alert Ready, to send out alerts in the event of imminent threats to the public.
Nova Scotia has sent out seven emergency alert messages using Alert Ready so far in 2021, with five related to civil emergencies and two for drinking water warnings.