May 24, 2010 By Russell Nichols
In the case of an emergency, local officials in Cameron County, Texas, want to warn residents ahead of time.
To do so, the county implemented the Reverse 911 emergency notification system, designed to improve countywide alerts about severe weather, hazardous material incidents, natural disasters, fires and public health threats.
Managed by the Cameron County Emergency Communication District (CCECD), emergency management coordinators believe the technology will expedite public safety responses in Cameron County, and help residents avoid the common problems that plague cities during catastrophes.
"It's always been a problem in the past, similar to what Houston went through with Ike," said Carlos Acevedo, CCECD's director of communications, referring to the 2008 hurricane that ravaged the Gulf Coast. "They didn't have a system in place and there was congestion and people running out of gas. We want to try to prevent that."
The system itself is not new, and typical users include law enforcement, fire/EMS departments and emergency management agencies. It is mostly used to alert the public, mobilize response teams and community policing efforts.
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