We should all sign up for new warning system

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They say bad news travels fast, but sometimes it's not fast enough to warn people of danger.

People have done everything from blowing rams' horns to making smoke signals and ringing bells to get their neighbors' attention when disaster approaches.

Technology had advanced to the point that Republican River Valley could be warned by telephone -- until the lines went down, that is -- and still more than 100 people were killed.

Tornadoes are capable of a similar amount of death and destruction, but, fortunately, radio, television, Internet and text warnings have improved our chances of survival.

Red Willow County emergency management officials are trying to take advantage of the new capabilities, but they need your help.

Officials will be trying out the system Wednesday, sending a test signal to everyone in the county's database, to see how well the system would work in case of a flood, storm, natural or man-made disaster.

Before then, or if you don't receive the test message, log on to the Red Willow County website -- http://www.co.red-willow.ne.us/links.html -- then click on "Links" then "Code Red Weather Warning" to provide your contact information.

The same technology that is making the new warning system possible, is making it more necessary.

That's because more and more of us have unlisted telephone numbers, have changed numbers, use cellular phones exclusively or use Internet-based VOiP telephone systems like Vonage that won't show up in regular telephone listings.

If you don't have Internet, call (308) 345-1850 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for assistance with adding contact information.

They need information like your physical street address (a post office box won't do), primary and secondary phone numbers, e-mail addresses and text addresses.

Implementation of the system is, in part, in response to suggestions from neighbors of the Nebraska Department of Corrections Work Ethic Camp in McCook.

"Many people have asked for an alert system in case of an escape from the work camp," said Emergency Management Co-Director Diana Wilkinson.

This system should help address those concerns, as well as many others.

"We hope we never need it, but it's nice to know it's there if we do," Wilkinson said. We urge local readers to provide the contact information emergency management officials need to complete this important project.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: