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Mobile County Buys Emergency Notification System

Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011 | News and Announcements

Mobile County Commissioners are expected to approve the purchase of an emergency notification system today that can be used by local public safety agencies to alert residents to health and safety hazards. They will vote on the issue at their 10 a.m. meeting in the auditorium of Government Plaza. The system by First Call in Baton Rouge, LA, will be used for emergency notifications only. Operators of the system can target geographical areas deemed to be in the path of a designated health or safety threat. The notification system will automatically call numbers listed with AT&T, or those registered for the program, in the target area. Emergency situations would include hazardous materials spills, hurricanes, floods and other weather-related threats, and anything else that threatens people or property. Total cost for the system and the database is $38,800 for the first year and about $34,000 each subsequent year. While Mobile County will foot the bill for the system, emergency responders in Mobile County, including all municipalities that need the system, will be the ones using it. The emergency responders will be provided access to the system, and will be the sole operators of it for their respective agencies. It will be the choice of the particular agency leaders whether to avail themselves of the system, at no cost to them. ?This is an excellent opportunity for the county to provide a needed service to smaller agencies that would be unable to afford it on their own,? said Commissioner Mike Dean. ?It?s an investment that can save lives and property.? The Mobile County Emergency Management Agency used to have a similar countywide system funded through a grant. When the funding ran out, no one was able to pick up the price tag of $340,000 per year to continue the service in 2010. The new system costs considerably less because it will be used strictly for emergency notifications. The former system could be used for any notification purposes. ?This is strictly a safety system for our citizens,? explained Commissioner Connie Hudson. ?We won?t be making notifications about trash pickups or parades or anything else.? The database will be updated automatically every quarter, and those individuals whose numbers are not listed may sign up to receive the service by providing their telephone numbers. Registration for the service will be made available at the First Call website: www.firstcall.net. The county?s contract for the service is for one year, with options to renew for two, one-year periods. ?Our emergency responders now have the capability of sending warnings to our residents when they feel they are under threat,? said Commissioner Merceria Ludgood. ?We hope we have increased the capacity and efficiencies of all our valued and dedicated public safety responders.? ###

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