New mass alert warning system proposed

Published 3:19 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Weather warning systems in Lincoln County are either obsolete or inefficient in a situation where seconds matter. Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Reid presented an idea to the Board of Supervisors Wednesday. 

His proposal was the County and hopefully City of Brookhaven go in together to use the company Hyper-Reach to send out mass notifications on weather, emergency events and critical alerts to residents. Adams County moved to the system this year and Lamar County has used Hyper-Reach for a few years now. 

Brookhaven has a couple of tornado sirens now but those are only outdoor sirens meaning anyone inside a building would likely not hear it. They are obsolete. He explained an app which could send weather alerts, road closures and other information to residents would be quicker than it is on the EMA Facebook Page. Seconds could make a big difference when severe weather events quickly develop. 

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“I’ve talked with others and it would automatically send notifications. I wouldn’t have to do anything,” Reid said. “If we had road closures too I could draw a polygon to where when your cellphone hits it it will tell you the road is closed up ahead.” 

Reid told the board he could set up a demo with the company. He added it would be great if Brookhaven could go in with the County on the system. It would be a benefit to everyone in Lincoln County. 

Supervisors asked how the notifications would work. Reid said it would come in via text or a person could download an app for Hyper-Reach to get notifications. Warnings could be sent out for part of the county and it would only notify those in a specific part of the county. 

District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey said he liked the idea. Yesterday, crews closed down a section of Jackson Liberty to replace two long sections of culverts and it would have been useful then. 

Lincoln County EMA already utilizes a push notification system for emergency calls, weather alerts and meetings for the fire departments in Lincoln County. 

Reid said Lawrence County plans to go to a similar system. 

District 3 Supervisor John David Hart said he believes it would be a good asset to have. 

Reid explained the system would be a yearly fee. 

“I would like to get started and try to get it in my budget for this year,” he said. 

Reid said he plans to take the idea to the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen next. 

911 texts

Supervisors asked Reid how the new 911 text system was working for the E911 Dispatch. Reid said they had not had any issues with it. 

The new service is an expansion of technology already used at E911. Dispatch is able to send a text to your phone with a link to a software to provide live video footage to dispatch. The footage is then used to help coordinate the appropriate services for car wrecks, fires and medical emergencies. 

“If someone sends us a text in a foreign language it can translate the text for us,” Reid said. 

As with phone calls to 911, making false reports over text is illegal.