COUNTY TO IMPLEMENT CITIZEN EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION SYSTEM

Wythe County Seal Trans Background

Click HERE to sign-up to receive emergency alerts.

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Wythe County officials are just days away from implementing a citizen notification system that will enable the county’s communications team to instantly alert citizens via landline, cell phone and email of severe emergencies.

The software for the system is being provided by Everbridge, a California based company that specializes in sending mass notification alerts. In addition to being used around the globe, Everbridge’s emergency alert system has been credited for playing a vital role in the days following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Though emergency communications staff members say they only expect to use the software on “a very limited basis,” they do acknowledge that the program has the potential to save many lives in the days to come.

“The software will give us the ability to instantly send a mass notification to the entire county – on their landlines, emails and mobile devices – in the event of an impending storm, such as a hurricane or severe snow,” said James Copeland, director of emergency communications.

“We’ll also be able to target a specific neighborhood or even road and send alerts that way. Something that might be very helpful should we face specific localized threats, such as a HAZMAT incident or tornado,” Copeland added.

Though the Wythe County Consolidated E-911 Center will already have access to all landlines registered in the county, local officials are encouraging residents who wish to receive emergency alerts on their mobile devices or via email to sign-up for the program either online (a link is provided at www.WytheCo.org) or by filling out a form at the county administrator’s office. The system is slated to go live July 1, 2014.

Another benefit of opting in to receive emergency notifications on one’s mobile device will be the option to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

Citizens who have questions concerning implementation of the new program are encouraged to contact James Copeland, 276-223-4533.

The citizen notification is made possible by grant funding provided by the Wythe-Bland Foundation and is a cooperative effort between Wythe County and the towns of Wytheville and Rural Retreat.

Click HERE to sign-up to receive emergency alerts.

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