New alert system will replace county sirens


System is more advanced and will save several thousand dollars per year

CLINTON — The county is moving toward a plan that would replace tornado warning alerts that go out from the countywide siren system with emergency messages sent to land line phones and electronic devices, such as cellphones.

Representatives of Constellation and county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director Micah Gallardo briefed the county board last week about the plan.

Gallardo said the goal was to upgrade public emergency warning systems.  The plan also would save tens of thousands of dollars a year in siren maintenance costs.  DeWitt County has about 40 sirens, which cost about $2,000 a year each in maintenance.

“Some benefits we’re going to see with this; we’re going to use more modern-day technologies, and it’s going to reach the transient population that travels through the county,” Gallardo said.

The system will send alerts out based on a distance range, and anyone traveling within that range will receive the alert.

Gallardo also cited the cost savings by removing the sirens.

The county’s CenCom system has access to technology similar to that used in “Amber Alerts.”

“So, that will be the primary system,” Gallardo said. 

The county will use a back-up system that uses pre-scripted templates for emergency alerts.

• See the complete story in the Friday, Oct. 28 print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.

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