EMA launches new mass notification system

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(Cullman County EMA)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has rolled out its new mass notification system – Everbridge Mass Notification – and is encouraging residents to sign up.

Cullman County EMA Specialist Brent McDonald said users can select severe weather and other desired alerts.

“Everbridge serves numerous counties throughout the United States by delivering timely and direct information to the public when it is most needed,” McDonald said. “Taking this into account, we conducted thorough research while seeking a better solution for the residents of Cullman County.”

McDonald said although the EMA understands that change isn’t always easy, in this instance, it was necessary. 

“We want to clarify why we opted to switch from our previous notification system,” McDonald said. “During last winter’s severe storm, we encountered difficulties in disseminating urgent alerts to the county. We were informed by our past notification system provider that we had reached our monthly limit for alerts, leaving us unable to send crucial updates when roads were impassable, and accidents were occurring throughout the area. This incident prompted us to reassess our requirements and conclude that the old system was no longer viable or safe for our county’s residents.”

McDonald expanded on the benefits of the new system.  

“We have now gained the capability to issue alerts whenever they’re deemed necessary, without the risk of being shut down by a third-party service that we’re paying to fulfill that very purpose,” McDonald said. 

“Everbridge offers our citizens a broader range of subscription options, enabling them to customize their alert preferences more effectively. Presently, they can choose to receive customizable weather alerts, notifications from the Cullman County Road Department, the City of Cullman, Cullman EMA, the County Commission and various municipalities that have partnered with us to alert residents in their respective towns,” he said.

While it’s still new to everyone and a work in progress, McDonald said, through Everbridge, the agency has what it needs to get alerts out when needed most.

“Should anyone have issues with signing up, please contact us at the EMA and we will get you in,” McDonald said. “If you haven’t yet registered, sign up by going to the link provided on our Facebook page and follow instructions shown.” 

Residents can register by visiting https://member.everbridge.net/355009111785876/login.  

Although mass notifications are a great resource to have in the event of a natural disaster or community emergency, Cullman County EMA Director Tim Sartin told The Tribune back in April that he believes two ways of receiving information is vital. Cullman County EMA has an app for tablets and smartphones that can also alert residents in the event of an emergency, and has a plethora of information on storm safety, shelter locations and other helpful information about emergency plans and preparedness. To download it, search “Cullman County EMA” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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