News release

N.S. Calls for National Public Alert System

Nova Scotia's Minister of Emergency Management joined her provincial colleagues this week in calling for quicker action on a national public alert system.

Carolyn Bolivar-Getson said time is of the essence in a large-scale emergency, and early warnings are crucial so people can make the best decisions to protect their families and property.

"Nova Scotians know what it is like to be hit hard by hurricanes, floods, and other disasters," said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. "If the federal government is going to be responsible for emergency management and public safety on a national scale, it needs to invest in a public alert system as soon as possible. And that system needs to work for any kind of hazard."

The minister said Nova Scotia will soon test an alert system using The Weather Network to reach cable television viewers across the province.

"It takes us a step further in reaching the public," she said. "But an effective national system, using a national broadcaster and mobile technology, is really the answer."

At a meeting in Vancouver of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of emergency management, Nova Scotia also pushed for an improved compensation system for non-weather related events, such as SARS, a pandemic or agricultural diseases.

The provinces also said federal funding should be available for projects to protect areas that are susceptible to disasters, such as flooding zones in Nova Scotia.

"It is just common sense," said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. "If we can invest a lesser amount today, to avoid a huge burden on taxpayers down the road, then we need to look long and hard at making those strategic investments in mitigation."

The Emergency Management Office (EMO) co-ordinates emergency preparedness and response in Nova Scotia and also operates the 9-1-1 emergency system, the first provincewide system of its kind in Canada. EMO also houses the only fully-integrated joint emergency operations centre in Canada at its headquarters in Dartmouth.

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Nova Scotia is pushing for several changes in national emergency management.

Emergency Management Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson joined her provincial colleagues this week in Vancouver calling for a national public alert system.

She says early warnings are crucial so people can make the best possible decisions to protect their families and property.

Ms. Bolivar-Getson also called for a national strategy to pay for projects to protect areas that are prone to emergencies, such as flood zones.

The provinces also want the federal government to help pay for large-scale emergencies that are not weather-related, such as SARS or a pandemic.

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Media Contact:

Richard Perry
Emergency Management Office Cell: 902-221-6495 E-mail: