Alert system makes county safer

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, December 15, 2015

With a new mass notification system, Carter County residents will receive emergency alerts directly to their home computers, phones or mobile devices.
“This system is going to be really helpful,” said Carter County Emergency Management Agency Training Director Billy Harrell. “We want to do what we can to protect our citizens.”
The Everbridge Mass Notification system alerts residents for a variety reasons like severe weather, fires and floods, as well as more routine scenarios like road closures or water utility maintenance. Messages are delivered via cell phone, home phone, text message, email, fax, pager or other preferred device.
“A comprehensive critical communications and community engagement system is an essential tool that Carter County needs to notify thousands of residents and businesses rapidly and efficiently,” said Jaime Ellertson, CEO of Everbridge. “Everbridge is proud to have been selected by Carter County as a critical component of its public safety and emergency response program.”
Those interested may self-register, provide selective contact information or choose not to participate, but City Manager Jerome Kitchens said, “This will only be effective if people enroll.”
Harrell said the system will go into effect in about 30 days.
“We want to alert as many people as we can,” said Harrell. “If everyone signed up, we could alert 19,000 people or more at the same time.”
Each city and county can use the system however they would like to, said Everbridge Senior Account Executive Lesley Turner.
“People can choose to receive only specific alerts and establish quiet times, and there are many ways to be alerted,” she said.
The data gathered cannot be sold to anyone and is not property of Everbridge, said Harrell.
“It is one of the most secure companies for mass alert systems,” he said, and Turner said Washington County is using the same system.
Harrell encourages everyone to register for the alerts, saying they are free to residents, and people can opt out at any time.
The price for the city and county, a total of $19,824 is locked in for five years, and each entity pays by population.

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