Sarasota County, Fla., launched a new alert system to better communicate public health and safety announcements. The system can send alerts via text message, email, smartphone app or landline phone.
(TNS) — Sarasota County is launching a mass-notification system called Alert Sarasota County, in partnership with area municipalities and the state of Florida.
Alert Sarasota County, which replaces the CodeRED notification system, will be used to communicate public health and safety alerts, including severe weather, sewage spills, mosquito management and boil water notices.
"Coming together for this important collaboration with our local municipalities allows us to bring our community vital information about their safety in a timely manner," said Rich Collins, the county's emergency services director.
Users can choose the types of alerts and how to receive them when registering their new account. These options can be changed at any time.
Users can also sign up to receive a message when new types of alerts are available. Alert Sarasota County can send alerts to users via landline phone, cell phone, text message, email, smartphone app push notification, or a combination of these methods.
Users can sign up for alerts by registering with their home address. County and municipality alerts can differ. To start receiving alerts, sign up in the following ways:
Download the free Everbridge mobile app. In the app, select "find organization or subscription," type your jurisdiction in to the search bar and log in or register a new account. Create an account at alertsarasotacounty.com.
The app will also allow for alerts from surrounding cities and the county without the user having to sign up for additional alerts.
When signing up through alertsarasotacounty.com, users can enter their home address to the jurisdiction map to determine which jurisdiction's alerts to receive.
Jurisdictions that are part of Alert Sarasota County include Sarasota County, the city of Sarasota and the city of North Port. Venice and the Town of Longboat Key are coming soon.
The city of Venice is transitioning to the new notification system.
The contact information for those who previously signed up for CodeRED or COVID-19 text alerts may not transfer. They may need to sign up for a new Alert Sarasota County account. Sarasota County's contract with CodeRED ends in July.
"This technology will not only serve to notify our community of emergencies, it will also allow us to reallocate taxpayer dollars to another priority, rather than paying for a notification system," said Collins.
The use of this mass-notification system through the host company, Everbridge, is at no cost to Sarasota County or participating municipalities.
The state holds a contract with Everbridge. The cost of the five-year, $3.5 million contract is borne by the state's Alert Florida program. The state's contract with Everbridge expires July 30, 2024.
"We're looking forward to the Everbridge system providing valuable, timely information for our citizens on a variety of critical issues via phone, text message and email," said Venice Deputy Fire Chief Frank Giddens, who is also the emergency manager for the city of Venice.
For more information, go to alertsarasotacounty.com or call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000.
©2020 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.