Claremore Daily Progress

May 24, 2013

County implements early warning system

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

With stark images of people recovering from the massive tornado in Moore, Rogers County residents now have the ability to receive emergency alerts through a new electronic early warning system.
Rogers County Emergency Management Director Scotty Stokes has implemented the Everbridge Early Warning System, which the county purchased in April.
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.
Participation for county residents is free, according to Stokes.
All landline phone numbers have already been entered into the system and will allow important notifications to be sent to residents, according to Stokes.  
The county will not be sharing users private information and the system is secure, said  Stokes.
 “I have been working pretty hard since you hired me to find a warning system that can be used throughout the county.” he said. 
Providing an early warning for severe weather events is a top priority. The contract with Everbridge will be approximately $28,000 annually.
The system is less expensive than putting up one tornado siren and sometimes the sirens fail to operate during an emergency, according to Stokes.
The county will be provide the opportunity for each community and several government organizations to use the system. Stokes has hopes of creating a unified warning system.
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.
Residents will be able to choose which method they would want to be used for notifications including cell phones, home phones, email or text messaging, he added.
Registration is simple and takes about five minutes.
Citizens can go to www.rogerscounty.org and find a red link at the bottom of the homepage. By clicking the link, they can begin the sign up process. Each screen will guide them through the steps including the selection of what type of alerts they wish to receive.
Additional options are included to select notifications of concern, including everything from roadwork to storm warnings.
Citizens also have the option to enter a geographical area they may be concerned about, according to Stokes.
The system allows users to have a unique user name and password as well as add other family members to their account.
Parents can add their child’s cell phone number if they want them to receive alerts, Stokes said.
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.
Once users sign up, they will have access online to modify or cancel their account at anytime.
For citizens that do not have internet access or would like assistance signing up, call Stokes at (918) 923-4458.