Claremore Daily Progress

April 25, 2013

County purchases early warning system

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

The Rogers County Commissioners approved Monday a measure to purchase services from Everbridge Early Warning System.
The system will be used to provide notification of several types of events,  including severe weather, road construction or closures.
Participation in the system will be voluntary and county residents will be required to provide contact information for participation.
The contract with Everbridge will be approximately $28,000 annually.
Due to the county’s ability to only commit funds for one year at a time,  Evergridge pro-rated charges at approximately $5,000 for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
The county will be providing the opportunity for each community and several government organizations to use the system, in hopes of creating a unified warning system.
The county is working to share the cost of the system to mutually benefit each group.  
“I have been working pretty hard since you hired me to find a warning system that can be used throughout the county.” Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes said. “I think in the long run it will save each community money.”
The system will be less expensive than putting up one tornado siren, according to Stokes.
Several schools and government organizations use the system, including Virginia Tech, which started after the shooting on campus, Stokes added.
Additionally, the system offers unlimited administration abilities including notifications for missing persons, building closures, power outages and much more.
For example, the county currently uses doorknockers or fliers as a notification of road closures requiring hours of employee time.
The system could save a days labor by using the system versus doorknockers, according to Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker. 
People will be able to choose which method they would want to be used for notifications including cell phones, home phones, email or text messaging, according to Stokes.
It is a tier notice contacting people in several attempts if needed and is similar to notification systems currently used by Claremore Public Schools and the City of Claremore, he added.
Last week, before the board approved the purchase Rogers County Commissioner Dan DeLozier questioned the proper procedure and the fund that could be used to pay for the purchase.
“Would we need to bid this purchase,” DeLozier asked. “Because we can use it for road closures, can we pay for it from road money.”
It is a service and it would not need to be bid, according to Assistant District Attorney David Iski.
“I think we are very clear on what road money can be spent for,” Iski said.
The board tabled the discussion a week ago. However, during Monday’s meeting, there was no further discussion regarding the account that would be used for the purchase or bidding requirements.