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So new technology including smart phones has made it easier than ever to notify people about things like hurricanes, tornadoes and other emergencies
But not everyone is signing up for alerts, and severe weather can knock out cell phone towers – so what should you do to stay safe and informed? Joining us this morning to talk about that is Wain Kellum, he’s the CEO of OnSolve emergency notification systems. Wain good morning to you!
So, what kind of emergency alerts are available now?
You can get emergency alerts for all kind of different events using different devices. What we are seeing at OnSolve is the number of weather-related events continues to rise pretty dramatically, which means hundreds of thousands of people in the US are significantly affected. Over the last 3 months we have sent out 51 million messages just between Texas and Florida alone. Citizen preparation is the key to successfully navigating these weather events.
So who is getting your alerts? Are you the ones that are just automatically hit on the phone? Or is it a special service?
There are a couple of ways to get alerts. Most of us get WEA alerts on our cell phone. But if you’ll go to your favorite search engine, Google, Bing, whatever, and you search the words “emergency management” and your location, what you’ll find is that your local emergency management organization typically has software and tools that are available for you. Those software and tools let you register your name and how you would like to get notified. And again, like you mentioned, cell services are often down during weather-related events, so whether it’s a landline or alternative communication, you can describe how you want to get notified.
I’m sitting in DeKalb County, Georgia. They use a software product called CodeRED. CodeRED allows me to download an app to these very powerful computers that we call “cell phones”; and it allows DeKalb County to send me very specific geo-targeted alerts through the app. Often times those alerts are set up so that I can respond to them, and that response can deepen context for first responders. So we are finding that this new technology really is significantly enhancing government’s – state and city – ability to reduce risk of life and risk of lost property.
In order for someone to get these alerts, they need to actively sign up for it, right?
That’s right. Again, my advice is to search for “emergency management” and whatever city or town you live in. You’ll find that there is always an emergency management organization that has very specific advice on how they’re going to target your cell phone for alerting.
Alright well we certainly appreciate you coming on this morning, thanks for your information. Wain Kellum, CEO of OnSolve emergency notification systems.