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Text Alert System Goes Online in South Dakota City, County

The new system, unveiled Thursday, will send residents of Rapid City Pennington County alert texts related to accidents, infrastructure incidents, fires causing traffic hazards, and weather-related travel advisories.

by Morgan Matzen, Rapid City Journal / October 16, 2020
Shutterstock/Yana Mavlyutova

(TNS) — A new public text alert messaging system will allow the public to receive texts for weather and emergency-related messages in Rapid City.

City and Pennington County emergency management and communications officials unveiled the new system Thursday in partnership with Everbridge Software Company.

In previous years, the public could receive county and city alert messages on the 211 Helpline system.

Alexa White , deputy director with Rapid City-Pennington County Emergency Management, said the public is encouraged to re-subscribe to the new system or to subscribe for the first time as winter approaches.

It's a "way of staying informed and receiving official notifications regarding incidents that have public impact," White said.

White said the messages will be related to accidents, infrastructure incidents that impact traffic flow, structure or grass fires causing traffic hazards or delays, weather-related travel advisories or snow cleanup messaging.

Subscribers to the new system can text the following keywords to 888-777 on their mobile devices to receive the text messages. Users can choose to receive any or all of these four messages:

  • RCSnow: Includes messages about downtown Rapid City snow alert declarations and closures of city operations such as landfill, library, rapid transit, airport and city hall
  • PCSnow: Includes travel advisories in Pennington County, closures of county administrative offices, etc.
  • RCImpact: Rapid City impacts such as major accidents with road closures, utility line failures with traffic impacts, police and fire alerts impacting traffic or specific neighborhood residents
  • PCImpact: Pennington County events could include accidents with traffic impacts, fire with evacuations or closures, law enforcement events requiring public notification.

Subscribers who have previously signed up to receive alerts will receive a couple of notifications to subscribe to the new system using the 888777 numbers. As of Oct. 25, the public will no longer receive city and county public text alerts over the 211 Helpline system.

The new system comes from a joint effort by Pennington CountyCity of Rapid CityRapid City Police DepartmentPennington County Sheriff's OfficeRapid City Fire DepartmentPennington County Highway and Pennington County Emergency Management officials.

More information and instructions can be found online at pennco.org/textalerts.

(c)2020 Rapid City Journal, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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