BC emergency alert system to be ready for extreme heat in June: minister

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced last week that the tool is ready for use during floods and will be extended to bushfires in June.

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British Columbia’s public safety minister says an automated alert system will be rolled out in June to notify residents of dangerously high temperatures, like last year’s fatal heat dome.

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Mike Farnworth made the comment during a press conference in Vancouver 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 that the tool is ready for use during floods and would expand to wildfires in June.

At the time, he said more work needed to be done by health officials to determine the parameters of a heat advisory.

However, on Friday he said launching the alert system in June had always been the government’s intention.

“Previously, we have been prepared to implement the warning system for tsunamis, civil emergencies and Amber Alerts. But now we are in line for flood dangers and the system will go further to expand wildfire threats in early June and heat alerts at the same time,” Farnworth told a crowd gathered on Naval Reserve HMCS Discovery in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

In response to a question about the timeline, Farnworth said: “It’s always been our plan that it would be ready by June.”

The BC Coroner’s Service has said that scorching temperatures last summer caused nearly 600 heat-related deaths.

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