County Comment: Washington County keeps citizens safe with Everbridge Aware(tm) for Citizen Alerts
Washington County keeps citizens safe with Everbridge Aware(tm) for Citizen Alerts
Citizens and businesses can sign up to receive critical alerts during emergencies
By Sarah J. Lankford, Director of Public Relations & Community Affairs
The Washington County, Maryland Division of Emergency Services will begin using Everbridge Aware(tm) for Citizen Alerts. This is an emergency notification system that communicates with thousands of businesses and residents in minutes during an emergency situation. The system will become active by mid-September.
The County will be able to alert residents about severe weather, fires, floods, toxic environmental issues and other emergencies using the system. Messages can be sent to residents on any communication path desired - cell phone, home phone, email, text messaging, fax, pager, PDA and more - ensuring that citizens and County staff receive life-saving emergency information and important public service announcements in minutes. If the resident does not confirm the receipt of the message, the system will try to reach a second contact number or email. The system will continue to contact the resident (using the resident's prioritized method of communication) until it receives a confirmation that the resident received the message.
Citizens listed in the County's 9-1-1 database will be automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, though any citizen may self-register, provide additional contact information or opt out. If contact information changes, citizens can access personal profiles on the Internet to update new phone numbers and email addresses. At a later date, the County plans to use the Everbridge system to notify residents about other important activities, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Eventually, it may be used as an opt-in tool to communicate general, non-emergency community announcements, based on zip code.
"We have a commitment to our citizens to protect them from any danger that threatens our community. The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment, which is why we are rolling out Everbridge Aware for Citizen Alerts," said Kevin Lewis, Division Director of Emergency Services. "The emergency notification system ensures the County will be able to react accurately and efficiently in a natural disaster or other crisis. This is especially timely as September is National Preparedness Month."
To sign-up for the free service, visit http://www.washco-md.net/EmergencyServices. For citizens without Internet access, please call Emergency Planner Sam Anderson at 240-313-4371.
Link to http://vimeo.com/28374621 to learn more and view a video featuring Washington County Division of Emergency Services Director Kevin Lewis, Public Relations and Community Affairs Director Sarah Lankford, and City of Hagerstown Police Department Chief Arthur Smith.
Everbridge, formerly 3n Global, the world's recognized leader in incident notification systems, merges technology with industry expertise to help millions of people communicate in a crisis, manage operational incidents and connect on a daily basis. The company's notification platform and incident lifecycle communications model makes communicating to many as simple and effective as communicating to one. Organizations in more than 100 countries including the City of Galveston, Salesforce.com, AirTran Airways, the American Red Cross, and Virginia Tech-rely on Everbridge for their emergency notification and day-to-day communication needs. For more information about Everbridge, visit www.everbridge.com.