Vinton County will completely transition to a new emergency alert system by Nov. 1, according press release from the Vinton County EMA said.
By then, the current notification system, Nixle, will be replaced by Hyper-Reach, which the county expects to be fully operational by the end of October, the release said.
“The new emergency alert system will provide rapid notification of hazardous and urgent situations using a mix of telephone calls, text and email messages, and even TTY/TDD service for the hearing impaired,” the release said.
The release adds that Hyper-Reach can send thousands of alerts in seconds and can simultaneously send social media alerts. It can also broadcast messages to most mobile telephones.
One major positive of the switch is that Vinton County residents with a landline phone can now receive emergency alerts, a service not previously available with Nixle, said Bill Faught, director of Vinton County EMA.
“I think it’s a good program, and I think it helps get our population a little bit better by also allowing those phone landline messages to come out as well,” Faught said.
The county plans to use the service primarily to alert residents about weather and environmental hazards, criminal activity and missing persons, the release said. Landline phones are automatically enrolled for community alerts, but weather alerts to landline phones and community and weather alerts to mobile phones and email addresses are only included when people enroll.
“We wanna try to cover as many people as possible to get the word out,” Faught said. “If we do truly have an emergency, we need to let them know.”
Residents and people who work in Vinton County are encouraged to enroll now either by calling or texting “Alert” to 740-669-7798 or by going to the website http://hyper-reach.com/ohvintonsignup.html. You will have to use a Vinton County address to receive notifications from Hyper-Reach.
Citizens can also download the Hyper-Reach Anywhere app on their smartphone. Hyper-Reach Anywhere is a free smartphone app that allows individual citizens to manage and monitor the alerts they receive, both for their home and office addresses and for other addresses they care about such as those of elderly relatives or friends.