The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced it’s launching a program that will allow tribal officials to send emergency notifications — among other types of notifications — across multiple platforms to tribal citizens that may be at risk during a critical event.
“It lets people know what is happening, where it’s happening, and gives advice on what to do and what not to do,” said Jason Wilson, public safety director during the live video.
The software launch was announced during a Facebook Live video event Thursday afternoon which accumulated more than 400 views during the hour-long lunchtime chat, Tlingit and Haida President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson and other officials from the tribe’s Public Safety Division discussed how the software will work, and how citizens can utilize it across platforms.
“It’s going to allow us to have very quick and direct communication with our tribal citizens,” said Sabrina Boone, emergency operations coordinator for Tlingit and Haida. “It’s going to really streamline our response by mass communication and receive information back from our citizens.
She said the software, known as the Everbridge Emergency Notification System, can be downloaded as an app on a mobile phone, allows the public safety division to be able to send out messages via text, email, voice calls and numerous other digital platforms as well. Through the software, the public safety division will also be able to partner with the Coast Guard, Federal Emergency Management Agency and other emergency response services as well.
Some of the types of messages that could be sent — as outlined in the presentation — are weather, fire, roadway damage, active shooter alerts or any other emergency alerts that would be pertinent to tribal citizens who are in the director or surrounding areas at risk.
She said it will dial into specific needs in the Tlingit and Haida tribal community, including aiding its ability to monitor critical events, alert the community and coordinate response across platforms which is “paramount to public safety.”
It also has a map feature which shows “nearly real time” visual updates to “to be able to see what is going on throughout the world — it’s not just focused in Alaska or the U.S.,” Boone said.
Stephanie Nylen, program compliance coordinator for Tlingit and Haida, said the public safety division would also like to look into the possibility of sending out notifications for tribal Assembly updates and election information as those dates grow closer.
“Those types of announcements would be amazing,” Nylen said.
Boone said the way to get registered for this software is an “easy and quick” process for tribal citizens, who will already be added to the system and be able to access the information as long as they are up to date in their program compliance (tribal enrollment). A registration email will be sent out as well for citizens before the launch, according to Boone.
“It’s really flexing our sovereignty,” she said. “We can really push out notifications on our own terms.”
Wilson said the software has been in the works for a while, and said the Public safety division has been looking into something like it since the start of COVID-19. He said the launch is just the start of a bigger picture for the tribe to reach out to more members to be able to communicate throughout the community.
Peterson said for now, the software will mainly be targeted to aid enrolled tribal citizens but he said he hopes it will be used as a tool “beyond and reach other groups — that’s something I hope to see.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.