Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 13, 2014

Howard Co. mass notification system up and running

The new system will alert people of impending dangers with a phone call.

(Continued)

"We knew it was a bad storm, but if my sister hadn't texted me, we would not have known there was a tornado," she said. "We had no idea what was coming."

With the new system, people in the path of a tornado will be alerted with a phone call before the tornado hits.

"I think something like this would be perfect," she said.

The system is in its early stages and the sheriff department is hoping to get the word out to residents.

“Right now, we want people to know how to sign up and what they want to sign up for,” Rogers said.

Citizens who choose every available notification may get more phone calls — possibly at inconvenient times — than they would like, Rogers cautioned.

“We want people to be alerted and not annoyed so be specific on what you want to sign up for.”

When people choose weather alerts, they are able to set quiet times so they don’t receive the notifications when they don't want them.

The only alert that can’t be opted out is a tornado warning, he added. Every other alert is optional.

People can sign up for all alerts or just for fire, law enforcement, EMS and water information.

Rogers said the severe weather alerts come automatically from the National Weather Service and Everbridge, but local police departments and fire departments also can issue alerts to specific areas for such things as an Amber Alert, Silver Alert or to notify residents of a rash of robberies or burglaries in a specific area.

The system costs the sheriff department $32,000 a year and will cover the entire county, including Russiaville, Greentown and other smaller communities.

And the system will only alert those residents directly affected. For example, if there is a missing child in Greentown, the system will alert people in that area and not the entire county.

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