BowENS will keep islanders informed in case of emergency

Bowen Island’s Emergency Management Program is rolling out a new tool to help residents prepare for emergencies called BowENS – the Bowen Island Emergency Notification System. This powerful opt-in notification system can send voice or text messages to home phones, cell phones, e-mail and even TTY machines in the event of a significant emergency such as an earthquake, wildfire or landslide. The message will provide important safety information such as evacuation routes, shelter-in-place instructions or neighbourhood-specific notifications.

When BowENS sends a notification, it will attempt to send the message to each method of contact entered by the registrant until it confirms they have received the message. BowENS can also be used to quickly call in Emergency Operations Centre staff, if one needs to be activated as part of an emergency response.

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For best results, each member of the household should complete the online registration form to ensure all family members receive notifications. Households that don’t have a computer, or need some technical assistance in filling out the registration form can get help from the Bowen Island Public Library.

The Municipality’s Emergency Program Coordinator, Jennifer McGowan, says the timing to launch BowENS couldn’t be better. 

“This year was the worst wildfire season on record in BC,” says McGowan, “We’ve already got 17 percent of the island signed up. With the launch of BowENS this fall, we hope to get as many households as possible, signed up as soon as possible.”

Emergency Social Services (ESS) volunteers are also keen to help spread the word about BowENS. They managed to sign up many residents on the spot at Bowfest, and will be attending community events throughout the fall and winter. They even plan to pass out information cards to cars waiting in the ferry lineup and to passengers on the ferry itself. 

“Encouraging personal preparedness is the main focus of the ESS team right now,” said Carolyn McDonald, ESS Director, “this tool will become an important piece of every household emergency plan.”

Residents who sign up before October 19 (the day of the ShakeOut BC earthquake drill), will be entered into a draw to win a free 72 Hours Emergency Preparedness kit. The system will also be tested during ShakeOut week.

To register for BowENS, please go to:
www.bimbc.ca/ens

To participate in the ShakeOut BC earthquake drill, please go to:

www.shakeoutbc.ca 

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