Rave alerts active

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

Countywide weather alerts – and more– are officially live as Pike County has launched its Smart911 and Rave Alerts system.

Smart911 focuses on providing key information about residents to emergency responders and Rave Alerts are meant to get key information out to residents in emergency situations.

One of the primary focuses of this functionality is weather watches and warning.

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Pike County EMA Director Jeanna Barnes explained what’s now available to residents who choose to sign up for the alerts.

“Watches and warnings are automated from the National Weather Service,” Barnes said. “This includes floods, tropical products such as tropical storms and hurricanes, winter weather and a wide variety of other weather advisories.”

Barnes said the new system allows emergency personnel to reach a greater number of people than they have in the past with just tornado sirens.

“Tornado sirens are only activated for tornado warnings and they only cover a one-mile radius on a clear day. During a loud storm, you may not hear it and they’re not designed to be heard indoors,” Barnes said. “They’re meant for people that work outdoors to come indoors and get more information.

“With this mass notification system, we can send out more information, not just tornado warnings. There are a multitude of different products that we can pass along to you. The number of households we’re able to reach will be greatly enhanced.”

The Pike County EMA may be the primary department to utilize the notice system, but several other county and municipal agencies have also been added into the mix including the cities of Troy and Brundidge, the town of Goshen, the Pike County Commission, the road department, local law enforcement agencies and more.

Residents don’t have to subscribe to all of those though, Barnes said. For instance, a Goshen resident may only want weather warnings and alerts from the town of Goshen and decline alerts form Troy or Brundidge. Users have the opportunity to select alert subscriptions in the preferences of the software.

Although numerous agencies are plugged into the system, some agencies are still working on how they’ll be utilizing the system.

“We’re still in the early stages with this,” said Troy Police Chief Randall Barr. “We don’t have anything set as to what we will use it for, but it’s an excellent tool we can use in the case of an emergency.”

“We don’t have any specific plans about what to do with it, but I think we’ll have that soon,” said Harry Sanders, administrator of Pike County. “I think you’ll see that in an upcoming meeting. We want to be more visible through social media and things like that.”

To sign up for the service, residents can got to www.smart911.com or they can go to the Pike County EMA or Pike County 911 Facebook pages and click the sign up button. To choose alerts, users can navigate to the preferences page or click “opt-in.”

To get assistance in signing up for the service, residents can contact Barnes at 465-0218.