The Liberty County Emergency Management Agency in March teamed up with Everbridge System, an interactive communication and mass-notification solutions provider, to notify the community of emergency and non-emergency alerts.
With 406 members now signed up, the new alert system is providing citizens and businesses with notifications regarding severe weather, flooding, gas leaks, police activity and more.
“A robust emergency-notification system is a strategic system for communities that need to notify thousands of residents and businesses rapidly and efficiently during an emergency,” Everbridge CEO Jaime Ellertson said. “Everbridge is proud to have been chosen by the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency as a critical component of its emergency-response plan.”
Adoption of the system in the county has been in the works since 2011, when a grant was produced in order to get the alert system up and running.
“It took nine months to implement everything. The phone company has to know that the phone numbers are going where it’s supposed to be going. The rest of the time was spent for training and service,” LCEMA Director Mike Hodges said.
The system works through any form of communication that an individual registers with, meaning alerts can be called or sent via text message or email. All contact information is kept confidential.
“This is one of the few ways we have to attempt to help with severe weather. It gives you early access and mass notification,” Hodges said. “Even with 65,000 people in this community, this service will do its job in less than an hour. It will call you on the phone, cell phone and any device you can think of.”
This system also sends mass notification to every employee throughout the county departments.
“We sign up every employee in Liberty County based on department, individual and even groups. If we have a tornado, I can locate the departments needed for the event,” Hodges said.
Though 10 alerts have been sent out concerning weather, including one for Tropical Storm Andrea, the LCEMA plans to use the Everbridge system for other important events like road closures and water utility maintenance.
To register for this program, an online account must be created where contact information will be kept and used for alerting the member of specific emergency and non-emergency events.
“We have a commitment to protect our citizens from any danger that threatens our community. The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency in order to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment, which is why we selected the Everbridge system,” Hodges said. “The Everbridge mass-notification and interactive-communication system ensures that Liberty County Emergency Management Agency will be able to react quickly and efficiently to reach each individual in the case of an emergency.”