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RBC | Emergency alerts can save lives, but in order to get them, citizens need to be sure they are registered with the county’s Swift911 alert system.
The fully-customizable program gives participants the opportunity to divulge as few or as many details as they’re comfortable sharing, and will give dispatchers a broader range of information to share with residents—from road closures to weather alerts—in real-time.
According to Mike Cook, Communications Supervisor for the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, the app allows his team to upload localized maps, create contact groups (schools or hospitals, for example), and send automatic messages. Alerts can be generated in “a minute or less compared to three to five minutes,” he said. “That’s a big deal for us.”
App users can select which alerts they want to receive. Some alerts, like the recent air quality warnings, are issued from national agencies.
Households with residents who may have problems communicating with first responders due to disabilities or mental health problems will also benefit from the new system, providing greater protection for them through greater knowledge of the situation by first responders.
“Home Alone” monitoring is also an option with the new system, providing daily check-ins at no charge for individuals who live alone and may be at risk of a fall or other problem.
The information provided is confidential, and all voluntary.