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New name, new look for emergency notification tool

Tara Jeffrey Sarnia-Lambton’s emergency notification system has a new look.

Tara Jeffrey

Sarnia-Lambton’s emergency notification system has a new look.

Formerly known as MyCNN (My Community Notification Network), the regional notification tool — that alerts subscribers of everything from extreme weather to missing persons to industrial incidents — will now be know as Sarnia-Lambton Alerts, beginning April 13.

“We held a bit of a brainstorming session back in the fall,” explained Tracy Krull, communications and engagement coordinator at BASES (Bluewater Association for Safety, Environment, and Sustainability) which brings together the work of Community Awareness Emergency Response (CAER), the Industrial Educational Cooperative (IEC), and Sarnia-Lambton Environmental Association (SLEA).

Krull said partners from the City of Sarnia, County of Lambton, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, and local industry were involved in the re-branding, with the help of Sarnia-based TMRRW Inc.

“MyCNN has evolved since it was implemented back in 2014,” said Krull. “When it was originally introduced, it was used more by the municipalities for road closures and other mandatory alerts.

“And since then, we’ve added in the industrial partners to be able to share community notices with the public as well. So we wanted something that was a bit more intuitive with the name; remove some of the confusion of what it is, and make it more self-explanatory.”

The system is free and allows subscribers to select which types of notifications they want to receive and how they would like to receive them.

Mandatory alerts — such as drinking water emergencies, evacuation notifications, missing persons, shelter-in-place advisories, and tornado alerts — can be sent via text messaging, phone calls, email or to handheld devices by downloading the Everbridge app.

Non-emergency alerts like extreme temperatures, industrial notifications and traffic information can be delivered via email, or through the Everbridge app, Krull explained.

Users can sign up for notifications by visiting

“So really, the only thing being updated is the name and the logo. From a user standpoint, anybody that’s currently subscribed to MYCNN is going to get the same information…the only difference is it’s going to have a new name,” said Krull, adding that it’s part of a broader effort to minimize confusion and simplify the messaging, noting that the acronyms — CAER, BASES, SLEA, IEC, etc. — can be difficult for residents to follow.

“We’ve tried to clean it up a bit. We’re taking out the unnecessary acronyms, because we’re really focused on the message that’s coming through, and not all those other variables.”

There are currently about 14,500 subscribers, and Krull says they want to increase that by 7% this year.

“One big focus is for us is getting out into the community a little bit more,” she said. “At local events, and onsite, promoting Sarnia-Lambton Alerts and encouraging sign-ups.

“It’s important to get out there and be face-to-face with the public, and talk about emergency preparedness.”

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