The emergency management agencies of Calhoun, Etowah, DeKalb, Marshall, Cleburne and Morgan counties joined together recently to subscribe to Everbridge mass notification software at a reduced cost.
(TNS) — Calhoun County, Ala., residents should have an easier time getting emergency warnings, thanks to a multi-county partnership accepted by the County Commission Thursday.
The emergency management agencies of Calhoun, Etowah, DeKalb, Marshall, Cleburne and Morgan counties joined together to subscribe to Everbridge mass notification software — a service that allows EMA staff to notify residents of emergencies like tornadoes, chemical spills and active shooter situations — at a reduced cost. Each agency will have the same usage access to the service, while the Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Management Agency acts as the primary subscriber. The others will pay their share for access.
Everbridge is an upgrade for Calhoun County; its current mass notification service, Nixle, only works via text message. Everbridge can push notifications by text, email and phone call, and can do so to targeted geographic areas, according to Michael Barton, director of Calhoun County EMA. That will let the agency direct warnings to specific communities without firing a countywide notification salvo.
“It gives us the ability to touch all different forms of media communication,” Barton told commission members during their pre-meeting work session. “We’ll be able to use it to notify the public during times of crisis and impending weather, or hazmat emergencies.”
The service will cost the county $25,423 per year — a fee based on county population — but Barton said it will come from the agency’s established budget, with no added costs.
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