Walla Walla County fires up emergency alerts

The system allows residents to sign up for notifications of problems in the area.

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WALLA WALLA -- If there was a threat of an ice storm, a flood or other emergency, wouldn't it be nice to get a warning call?

A new countywide emergency notification system, Citizen Alert, promises to do just that.

Operated by Walla Walla County Emergency Management, the system can broadcast warnings about severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies to businesses and residents within minutes, said Jim Duncan, department director.

"Messages can be sent to residents on any communication path desired -- cellphone, home phone, email, text messaging, fax, pager, PDA and more -- ensuring that residents receive life-saving emergency information and important public service announcements in minutes," Duncan said in a release.

People listed in the county's white pages landline phone database will be automatically subscribed to emergency alerts by phone. People may also self-register their cellphone, VOIP phone, email, text message device, fax and pager by going to the county Emergency Management Department website and following the signup instructions.

In addition to emergency notifications, the system will be used to broadcast alerts about other important activities, such as road closures, water shutoffs or power failures, Duncan said.

County commissioners Monday approved the agreement with Everbridge Inc. to provide the service for the county.

"We have a commitment to our citizens to protect them from any danger that threatens our community. The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment, which is why we are rolling out Walla Walla Emergency Management Citizen Alert," Duncan said.

"The Citizen Alert emergency notification system ensures the community will be able to react accurately and efficiently in a natural disaster or other crisis. I urge all citizens of Walla Walla County to sign up today to receive emergency notifications," he said.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.



How to register

Online registration for emergency notifications is available at www.wwemd.info.

People who do not have access to the Internet can mail their contact information to the county Emergency Management Department or call the office.

The address is 27 N. Second Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362 and the phone number is 524-2900.

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