Catoosa Readies For Emergencies: Installing Mass Alert System, Warning Sirens

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - by Mike O'Neal

Better communications result in better responses and results, particularly during times of crisis or disaster. That is why Catoosa County government is spending more than $19,000 to establish an account with Everbridge, an international leader in providing emergency and mass notification services.

 

Everbridge will provide official warnings and alerts, within seconds of their being issued, at no charge to any local subscriber, according to Clarence Muse, deputy director of the local Emergency Management Agency.

 

There is no cost for any individual, business or agency to sign up for the service, he said.

 

Mr. Muse said nearly every communication device—including mobile phones, landlines, smartphones, email, text messaging, instant messaging, pagers, computers, fax machines and even an electronic billboards or road sign — is capable of instantaneously receiving notifications.

 

Alerts can be triggered by a 911 dispatch operator, an on-site incident commander or an authorized outside entity, such as the National Weather Service, and can be either broadcast generally or to specific areas.

 

“It can be a real warning from eyes on the ground,” Commission Chairman Keith Greene said during the Tuesday commission meeting.

 

The Everbridge system’s abilities recently were shown immediately following the Boston Marathon bombing. That city regularly uses the software communication network to warn of impending storms or as reminders about road closures and detours.

 

But following those two finish line blasts, Everbridge was used to call for help, to direct emergency personnel and as a way for the public to check on one another. By day’s end, hundreds of thousands of messages had been sent and received, according to company reports.

 

The software bypassed overloaded cell towers by using land-based phone lines and Wi-Fi signals to send alerts to phones, e-mail addresses, pagers, faxes — even electronic billboards and road signs.

 

Catoosa County’s software will be identical, with the primary mission of providing severe weather warnings and emergency information, and could have shown its worth when cells of tornadoes, including one that struck Ringgold, swept the Southeast in April 2011.

 

Costs associated with this initial year’s service will cost the county nothing, according to Catoosa EMA director Steve Quinn.

 

A total of $13,250 in Federal and State emergency management agency grants will cover about 75 percent, an additional 10 percent state grant and funds donated to the Salvation Army following the April 27 tornado will cover the remainder, he said.

 

Since Everbridge is a software program, operated from redundant centers nationwide, its local implementation will be strictly dependent on who signs up to receive its messages or alerts, Mr. Muse said.

 

Now that the county commissioners have approved the contract, Mr. Muse said information about how to register with Everbridge should be made public, possibly before the end of the month.

 

In addition to a software solution to warn of emergencies, the county will also apply federal, state and local funds to install about $52,000 of hardware that could help save lives in time of danger.

 

A Hazard Mitigation Grant for Warning Sirens will be used to install two old-school “air raid” sirens, one at Lakeview Middle School and another at Ringgold High School, to provide high decibel warnings.

 

“FEMA has suggested that sirens and mass alert systems be used together,” Mr. Muse said.

 

moneal2480@comcast.net


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEY, KARIN  990 GREEN POND RD SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FAILURE TO APPEAR POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA --- AR-RAHMAAN, CHRISTIANA ALISA  3210 BROAD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37408  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Red Bank Woman Charged With Kicking Boyfriend's Dogs During Incident At Airport Inn

A Red Bank woman has been charged with kicking her boyfriend's dogs during an incident at the Airport Inn on Feb. 4. Juliet Michelle Gaines, 29, is charged with assault and cruelty to animals. At 10:38 p.m., police responded to the hotel on Lee Highway. Adam Coffey said Ms. Gaines was drunk and hit him in the nose with her elbow. He said she then repeatedly tried to strike ... (click for more)

Alexander And Corker Need To Talk Sense To Their Leadership

Alexander and Corker really need to talk some sense to their leadership  So a Supreme Court Justice dies and before the POTUS can even come up with a list of replacements, Mitch McConnell states the Republican Senate will not seat Obama's replacement. Why? Because they want to throw a hissy fit.  For 240 years the Senate has done their constitutional duty and has ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Evaluators Earn $11.70

A number of curious job notices, under the heading of ‘General Labor,’ have appeared on various Craigslists, that free Internet portal where you can find everything from a used lawn tractor, guitar lessons or even a saucy Saturday night date. This week on the Charlotte, N.C., Craigslist, for example, there appeared an offer to become a “reader/evaluator” for a company known as Measurement ... (click for more)

Red Bank Rolls To Region 2-A/AA Mat Title With Ease

Shane Turner has been waiting a long time for this year's wrestling season to get here. He took over the head coaching job at Red Bank four years ago and his Lions have taken their share of whippings during that time. Turner kept preaching to his kids to stay faithful to the program and to keep working hard and that eventually, good things would come their way. They're ... (click for more)

Bradley Wrestlers Win Region 4-AAA With 7 Champions

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – There was never much doubt about which team would walk away from the Region 4-AAA wrestling tournament with the most individual champs and the overall team title. The Bradley Bears, ranked second in the state all year, have had a great season to this point and it just got a little bit better early Saturday evening at Cleveland Middle School. By claiming ... (click for more)