Emergency Notification Systems Vary From County To County

by Ramonica R. Jones

Different counties have different ways of notifying residents during emergencies. Whether it's a hurricane headed our way, a missing persons alert, or a chemical leak, people living in Angelina County will get a phone call, warning them of potential danger.

The First Call Alert System is only a few years old, but it's been tested several times. It took about ten minutes to notify more than 200 people about a pipeline explosion back in August.

"It is a recording that we can make to a company based in Louisiana, and in turn, they will send that recording to telephones throughout households in certain parameters that we call," said Keith Bickley.

Nacogdoches County uses sirens to tell residents about flooding, hazardous spills, or the need for an evacuation. They recognize the alarm as a warning to seek safety in a secure, indoor location.

"I'm sure they all have their pros and their cons. Unlike an audible siren system that can blast throughout a city - it can get people that are shopping or are on the highway - this system just goes to the individual telephone at a residence or a business."

No matter what the warning system is in your area, it is the resident's job to stay alert and be aware of danger. Weather radios are small and inexpensive, but being safe in an emergency is priceless.

Siren systems are intended for outdoor warnings only. They are not designed to warn people who are indoors during an emergency. The sirens are usually sounded when a tornado has been sighted in the area or when there's a severe thunderstorm or damaging winds approaching.