County of Paintearth unveils new smartphone app to improve communication with residents

The County has partnered with Calgary-based Voyent Alert! to develop a mobile phone application

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The County of Paintearth has a new way to communicate with those who reside within its borders.

Paintearth County has partnered with Calgary-based Voyent Alert! to develop a mobile phone application that will allow residents within the region to have notifications pushed directly to their device. The County worked on the app as a supplement to existing forms of communication, and not as a replacement.

Notifications put through the app so far include road closures, fire restrictions, and bridge construction, though in emergency situations the app can be used to notify residents of evacuation alerts, tornado warnings or other potentially catastrophic events.

“We have 90 (registered users) at the moment, but it’s just getting started in terms of promoting (the app),” said County of Paintearth Chief Administrative Officer Michael Simpson.

“We are also getting used to incorporating this technology into our communication plan, so it’s all new territory; but it’s an exciting place to be in terms of connecting directly with our ratepayers.”

In addition to County administration, the municipalities of Castor and Coronation are authorized users of the app as well, and administration of those municipalities can connect with their residents, too.

The annual cost to operate the application is about $5,000 per year, carried by the County.

“We aren’t sending a bill to the towns for anything at this point, we’d like to see how they’re able to utilize it for better, real-time communicating to residents as well,” said Simpson.

The app can be accessed multiple ways and across a variety of devices including Android, Apple, via text message, and email. To access the application, go to your devices online store, and search for Voyent Alert, download the app, and then register the region you would like to receive notifications for by entering your postal code.

After that you will be connected and receive real-time alerts from the County.

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