North Carolina County to Test Reverse 911 System
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management will be testing telephone emergency notification systems in nine counties statewide. One of them is Greene County, where three state prisons are located, and residents have voiced concern over knowing the whereabouts of escaped convicts.
The county’s existing phone tree system is ineffective when residents are not at home, according to county officials.
The new system will be a reverse 911 automated phone system that will cost the county just 18 cents per phone call and $125 per month to Emarq for updated land line numbers.
The system alerts residents via pagers, PDAs, text messaging, email, telephone, cell phone, and through posted messages on a Web site. The county is not charged for email, text messages or PDA notifications.
MyStateUSA would house the phone database on Greene County’s secure servers and offer connection information that could be placed on any county or public Web site.
Officials say the system can be used for inmate escapes as well as emergency evacuations and other emergencies. Calls can also be limited according to region, officials say.
Individuals who lack land-line service will be allowed to sign up for emergency and weather alerts via a public subscription service.
Another feature of the system is that local personnel can pre-load information as a template, including geographic data.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Kinston Free Press (05/09/07); Marshall, Katie.