VICTORIA -- The District of Tofino is preparing to roll out a new tsunami monitoring and alerting system.

The cellphone-enabled notification service was developed by Calgary-based ICEsoft Technologies and has been in the beta-testing phase in the Vancouver Island community for about three months, according to Tofino emergency program coordinator Keith Orchiston.

The new tsunami advisories will include information such as the location, scale and depth of a tsunami-triggering seismic event, and the recommended actions for residents to take.

The alerts also include colour-coded maps illustrating the severity of tsunami dangers in specific areas and estimated tsunami travel times. Alerts will also be posted automatically to community social media channels and to the district website.

“During a critical event, such as a tsunami, seconds matter,” said ICEsoft president Brian McKinney in a release Tuesday. “These automatic alerts provide the early advisory needed for emergency management personnel to rapidly respond to the situation.”

The alert system, called Voyent Alert!, sends the notifications through a phone app, text message, voice call or email, depending on the user’s preference.

Voyent alert

It also provides separate evacuation routes to a 10-metre elevation safe zone for distant tsunamis and a 20-metre safe zone for tsunamis originating close to the community.

The system will replace Tofino’s One Call Now system, which provides similar text messages, voice calls and emails to subscribers.

The district will continue to use its outdoor tsunami sirens at Cox Bay and Chesterman beaches.

The Voyent Alert! system is expected to become operational in Tofino this week, Orchiston said.