There is no emergency, but the City of Steinbach is making sure it can communicate with its citizens if one were to happen. On Wednesday, April 27th between 5 and 6pm, the City will use its emergency notification service, Steinbach Alert Now, to send residents and businesses a test message. Only those who have signed up to the Steinbach Alert Now service, have had a published local Steinbach number, or have a phone number on file at the City may receive the notification.

"This is our first real test of the system and we’re doing it for two reasons," said Denis Vassart, the City’s Emergency Planning Coordinator, "First, we want to try out the system to make sure our processes work; second, we want residents to know that even if they receive the notification, it’s up to them to maintain their emergency contact information in the system."

For those people who have already signed up for the free service, the test notification is a reminder to make sure their account information is up to date. During the test notification, residents and businesses may receive a combination of email, voice and text messages and they will be given instructions on how to confirm receipt of the messages. This will be important during a real emergency to gauge how many citizens have been informed of the situation.

For those people who have not signed up, but receive a test notification call on their home or business phone, it’s important they complete the full sign-up so the City can contact them using the most efficient method. By signing up at www.steinbachalertnow.ca, residents and businesses are able to prioritize the method they wish to be contacted by, including text message, email and phone call.

"The service is only as good as the contact information we have," says Vassart, "By signing up, it ensures you will be included and made aware of an emergency in the City, such as a tornado warning, flooding or major fire. The Steinbach Alert Now system may have your home phone number, but what if you aren’t at home? Ideally, you could also be contacted on your cell phone, by a text or an email."

Of course there are residents and businesses that will not receive a test notification at all. Vassart hopes that friends and family that are notified spread the word and encourage these residents to sign up as soon as possible. Signing up is the only way to guarantee you will receive notifications during an emergency. Steinbach citizens and businesses that do sign up by April 27th are guaranteed to be part of the test notification.

This is the first test notification being sent out by the City since implementing the Steinbach Alert Now service last September. Going forward the City expects to send out bi-annual reminders, in the spring and fall, to remind residents to keep their account information up to date.

For more information about Steinbach Alert Now, click here or call 204.346.6575.