PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County has a new emergency notification system. "Alert Crook County" went live December first. Deschutes and Jefferson counties are expected to launch their own versions, soon.
Crook County Emergency Manager Michael Ryan tells KBND News the system will alert residents about severe weather events, power outages, floods and wildfires. "We can reach out and get information to cell phones and landlines, on the telephone side. And then, under other types of media, we can do text messages and email, and we can do that to multiple numbers for one client."
The county had an emergency reverse dialing system, but that was based on landlines and many only have cell phones now. Ryan says the new technology will no doubt save lives. "Prior to this, we didn't have a rapid means of notifying people. Now we have that ability, we can quickly get the word out. The system is very fast to respond and gets the word out in minutes rather than hours. That's what makes the difference when you're trying to evacuate people."
Landline numbers are automatically registered in the new program, but others need to opt in. "The opt-in component gives the user the ability to go in and tell us how you want us to contact you," says Ryan. "You don't have to give us everything, but you can give us phone numbers, email accounts, all those kinds of contact media that you want us to get in touch with you, and you can prioritize it."