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Mass alert system approved for another year

The Harrison County Council last week narrowly approved the Emergency Mass Notification Alert System for another year at the request of Emergency Management Agency director Greg Reas.
The system, at a cost of $12,000, already has 11,000 people signed up. It is free for residents.
Councilwoman Jennie Capelle made the motion to approve the renewal of the system but said more information will need to be provided before it is renewed again.
Others voting in favor were councilmen Donnie Hussung, Sam Day and Kyle Nix.
The reluctance from the other council members, Council Chair Gary Davis said, is it appears to be a duplication of services, such as weather alert applications from news stations.
Reas said the system is the only one tailored specifically for Harrison County and notifications are only sent to the specified zip code area, not entire counties or multi-county regions like with news station weather applications.
He said county government, and the commissioners specifically, are tasked with timely notification of danger for residents.
‘I can’t think of anything more cost efficient or easier to do than using a system like this,’ Reas said.
Reas encouraged the council to spread the word about the system.
‘This is an excellent tool for emergency notifications of all types and, best of all, you choose which notifications you would like to receive,’ Reas said. ‘We are encouraging all Harrison County residents, business owners and local organizations to take advantage of this free service.’
As of now, the service only offers weather alerts.
They are: Wind ‘ high wind; Flood ‘ flash flood, flood; Winter ‘ blizzard, freezing fog, freezing rain, heavy snow, ice storm, snow and blowing snow, winter storm, winter weather; Non-precipitation ‘ excessive heat, hard freeze; Fire ‘ fire weather; and Severe ‘ severe thunderstorm, tornado (tornado warnings are automatically sent; there’s no option on it).
Eventually, Reas said schools may take advantage of the system for notifications for its students and families.
Users input an address, and the system will relay chosen notifications for that area. Multiple addresses are allowed, so residents can use their home and place of work addresses. Notifications are sent by text, phone call and email, with residents allowed to pick any ‘ or all ‘ of the options.
An option also exists for a ‘don’t contact me between’ time period of the user’s choice.
To sign up for the service, provided by Everbridge, visit harrisoncounty.in.gov and scroll to the bottom of the page for a link which will lead to the sign-up page.
For more information or assistance with the sign-up process, call Reas at 812-738-8949 or visit the EMA office at 245 Atwood St., Suite 217, Corydon.

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