CHRISTIANSBURG — Montgomery County and the New River Health District have teamed up to launch Citizens Alert, an emergency alert system that will provide emergency notifications quickly by cell phone, work or home phone, email or text message. Messages can be sent in voice or text format.
The alert system will allow officials to communicate with citizens and businesses during emergencies and other critical events. County residents, staff and emergency personnel are asked to sign up to receive the free emergency notifications and public service announcements.
“This is a great program that will allow citizens to tailor the emergency notifications that they want to receive to their lifestyle,” said Montgomery County Sheriff C.H. Partin.
The Everbridge emergency notification system will alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Residents listed in the County 911 database will be automatically subscribed to alerts by phone, but the notification system allows citizens to self-register, provide additional contact information or opt out.
“Citizens Alert gives us the opportunity to communicate directly with our citizens during man-made or natural catastrophic events,” said Emergency Services Coordinator Neal Turner. “The alerts will help those affected be better prepared to make decisions and respond quickly to the situation.”
Messages will be sent to residents on their preferred contact path. Even pagers and fax machines can receive notifications.
Individuals can choose the amount and degree of emergencies they wish to be notified about, from frost advisories to severe winter storm warnings in colder months to high heat and hurricane warnings in warmer months. Citizens can also choose to be alerted about health emergencies, such as boil water notifications.
“In the event of a public health emergency or crisis, this system will allow the Health Department to rapidly get notifications, information and/or medical instructions out to our residents and keep them updated as conditions change,” said David Linkous, Local Emergency Health Coordinator for the New River Health District.
Online registration is available at www.montva.com/citizensalert. Those without access to the Internet or who need help registering may call Turner at 394-2146.
– Staff reports