Teton County to again try alerts on reverse 911
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
July 10, 2012
After a problematic first attempt, Teton County emergency personnel are planning to run a second test of a phone-based emergency alert system.
Calls are slated to start noon Thursday.
County staff, working with a New Jersey-based company, tested the system several weeks ago. Many residents said messages from that test were garbled and filled with static.
County staff said the problems likely were caused by the phone network somewhere between New Jersey and Wyoming that got overloaded. The messages were sent from New Jersey.
This time, staffers from the company, Nixle, are supposed to work with county officials to tweak call volumes so they don’t overload networks.
The town and the county do not have phone-alert systems. They do, however, have a system that sends emergency texts and emails. Nixle manages that system.
County staffers have said they want to implement a phone-based warning system to reach residents who might not check emails or who may not text.
A phone system would help reach residents in remote areas who might not be able to hear warning sirens, county staff have said.
The phone system could be used to issue evacuation orders, flood warnings, information about hazardous waste spills or other emergencies.
To add the phone system to its current text messaging and email programs, county officials would have to pay $5,500 per year.
Residents who are interested in signing up for the service should visit http://tetoncountywy.my.nixlepro.com.
Additional questions should be direction to Emergency Management Coordinator Rich Ochs. He can be reached at 733-9572 or via email, at email@example.com.