New way to warn Marion Co residents in emergencies
JASPER, TN (WRCB) - Marion County has a new way to alert residents when emergency situations unfold. From severe weather, violent crimes in progress, to Amber Alerts. It's actually several methods in one to warn people what's going on around them so they can get to safety.
Marion County is officially live with its Everbridge System.
"It's the difference between life and death," Marion County 911 Executive Director Jerry Don Case said.
Marion County officials wish they had this emergency notification system several months ago, when historic flash flooding hit South Pittsburg. So much rain fell so fast, flood waters ripped up roads, carried cars, and damaged homes, schools and businesses.
"We could have drawn a circle that needed to be included in this flood, and we could've notified each particular area," Case said.
The Everbridge System went live this week. Around 11,000 land line customers are automatically signed up, and around 200 residents have opted to put in their cell phones or emails so far.
"The real challenge now is gong to be signing up the 30,000 plus people that live in Marion County," Marion County EMA Deputy Director Howard Cotter said.
You can choose up to five different methods of being contacted. Most are choosing text alerts as the first option, but if you don't respond to it, the system goes to your next method of contact.
"It will go through that list in the priorities that you have set and call until it contacts you," Cotter said.
You can also add medical information. For example, if you rely on oxygen and there's a power outage, emergency responders know to come to your aid. You can set time parameters, like if you don't want alerted in the middle of the night.
Emergency management is hosting events to walk people through the sign up process, but if you want to do it yourself, just go to http://www.alertmarioncounty.com/
Marion County paid around $10,000 for the notification system, but officials say they will be reimbursed by the state.