We came across this announcement for the town of Smithers, British Columbia, in Canada, which honestly made our blood boil just a little.
Smithers is a small town of about 5,300 people. That means it has about 2,100 households and less than 1,700 of those households have a landline. And the emergency notification provider they chose is charging them $7,500 per year.
We’re glad that the public safety folks in Smithers think that emergency notification services are worth more than $3 per household. On that point, we agree. But that’s a crazy high amount to be paying for such a small community.
In fact, we know of emergency notification companies that would charge between $2,000 – $3,000 per year for the same service. And at least one of those companies would offer the same kinds of services, with messages delivered as voice messages to landline and cell phones, text messages, email, pager messages, Facebook and Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, and even Internet posts and more. And that company would deliver those messages just as fast and possibly faster, just as reliably and possibly more reliably, thanks to their use of cloud-based computing services companies. And – despite what the story says – the recipients of those messages would be able to respond to verify that they’d received the message.
Which makes us wonder what the citizens of Smithers are going to get for the extra $5,000 or so they’ll be paying each year for this service. And what they could do with that $5,000 if they’d found a less expensive service provider.
So, congratulations to the citizens of Smithers. Emergency notification services are highly valuable. And well worth the money you’ll be paying. But when it comes time to renew your contract, shop around a bit. We think you can get a much better deal.