FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizen Alert System Can Notify Tens of Thousands Per Hour in Emergencies Jackson County Emergency Manager Urges Residents to Sign Up
MEDFORD, OREGON — (September 13, 2012) — In the event of a local natural disaster, health scare, or law enforcement emergency, Jackson County officials have the ability to quickly alert residents at a rate of tens of thousands per hour via the Citizen Alert notification system. However, in order to receive important messages, residents, especially the growing number of people who no longer have landline telephones, need to sign up at www.JacksonCounty.org/alert.
The Citizen Alert system contacts users by their choice of mobile phone, work phone, email, or text message in situations such as fires, floods, gas leaks, fugitives, hostage situations, or other law enforcement activities. Citizen Alert is open to all residents of Jackson County and there is no cost to register.
“Citizen Alert is one more layer of protection Jackson County residents can provide for themselves and their families," said Mike Curry, Jackson County Emergency Manager. “We all do whatever we can to prepare for any circumstance. I strongly encourage all residents and businesses to sign up for Citizen Alert for added insurance. It only takes a few minutes and will help us reach you quickly in emergency situations.”
When signing up, residents can customize locations they would like information about, as well as which type of communication device on which they would like to be contacted. In the event of an emergency, County or City officials can use the system to rapidly contact people concerned about the affected area — at a rate of tens of thousands of calls per hour – which is especially important for time-sensitive events such as evacuations.
Landline telephones included in the 911 database are already registered, but many people don’t have a landline telephone, or aren’t home to answer it when an emergency occurs. “We can't alert you if we can't reach you, so we need everyone to provide other ways of contact in addition to your home phone," said Mark Decker, Jackson County Information Technology Director.
By registering multiple contact paths such as mobile phones, work phones, or email, residents will be contacted in the order specified until they confirm the message was received. Residents can also choose to be notified about events affecting multiple locations besides their home, such as their place of business, children’s school, parent’s home, or other locations within Jackson County.
Officials can use the system to alert residents in non-emergency situations such as major road closures. “You choose how you want to be contacted. For example, you may want to be called on your cell phone and office phone for an emergency evacuation, but only receive an email for a road closure,” said Decker.
All information residents provide is kept confidential and will not be sold or used for any purpose other than alert notifications. Residents can opt out or change notification preferences at any time.
Using a federal grant to fund the system, Jackson County signed a contract with Everbridge, Inc. to provide the software and support. The Cities of Ashland, Central Point and Medford have partnered with Jackson County in use of the system and will share portions of the ongoing operating costs.
For more information, visit www.JacksonCounty.org/alert.
Mark Decker, Jackson County Information Technology Director
(541) 774-6023 or DeckerML@jacksoncounty.org
Mike Curry, Jackson County Emergency Manager
(541) 774-6821 or CurryMC@jacksoncounty.org