Pa. county to begin mass alert notification system this summer
Crawford County residents can sign up for the alerts to alert them to significant weather, hazardous materials incidents, AMBER alerts for missing children or an active shooting
The Meadville Tribune, Pa.
By around mid-August, Crawford County residents will be able to sign up to receive emergency notifications from the county right to their phones.
Crawford County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a mass notification system from Genasys Inc. of San Diego, California, at the June 9 meeting.
Once installed with Crawford County's 911 emergency system, it will be able to reach up 20,000 subscribers with an emergency situation, according to Greg Beveridge, the county's director of public safety.
"It's for things like significant weather, hazardous materials incidents, AMBER alerts for missing children or an active shooting," he said. "We'll be able to do that at a moment's notice by text, voicemail or email."
Signing up for the notifications — whether an individual, business or organization — will be free and totally voluntary, according to Beveridge.
The system also will be able to make alerts countywide or just within a designated area.
"We'll start out with up to 20,000 subscribers, but we can add to if needed," he said. "It's voluntary and there's no commitment by a subscriber."
Information also will be available via a smartphone application or website.
The system's cost is $5,761 and is being paid with wireless monies the county receives from the state through Pennsylvania's $1.65 monthly 911 surcharge on wireless phones.
Commissioner Chairman Eric Henry said commissioners are happy to be getting the system.
"It's a pinpoint way to get out urgent messages — on weather information or other emergencies — quickly," he said.
The system should be installed within the next 60 days or less, according Beveridge.
"It's a great way to keep the public informed," he said. "It's more modern and in step with the times."
Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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