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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Emergency Notification System now available

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

(Photo)
Putnam County Emergency Management Director Dave Costin demonstrates the new Emergency Notification System that is up and running at the Emergency Operations Center. The new system is designed to send out phone, text and email messages to residents and businesses in the county in the event of an emergency.
Just in time for the start of tornado season, the Putnam County Emergency Management has its new Emergency Notification System up and running.

They will conduct a test run on March 18 at the same time as the statewide tornado drill.

"We're going to do a sampling of 200-300 numbers in different areas of the county," said Dave Costin, Emergency Management Director.

"It costs about $1,500 every time we do the whole county. We would like to have people add their text and email address to be notified. Those don't cost anything," said Costin.

To add an email address or mobile phone number for texting go to the co.putnam.in.us/911/ and click on "Emergency Notification System." The page will give instructions how to enter required information.

This system is used to notify the public, county officials, law enforcement and emergency responders through a conventional phone line, email or cell phone text messaging of important information such as weather alerts.

Costin, along with Putnam County Planner Kim Hyten and all three supervisors at the EOC have been trained on the system.

"All the phone numbers in our database are in the new system. There are 19 telephone exchanges in Putnam County, but we've got everything in and ready," said Costin.

The system can also be used to notify a particular area of a missing child, fugitive, sexual predators, road closings, school closings and emergency declarations like a tornado or flood.

Any message can be sent, including pre-planned ones. This system notifies 10,000 dial tone lines in 15 minutes and will do email and text messaging instantly.

It can be used for the entire county or for select areas based on the need or the emergency.

On March 18, those in the test rotation will hear a message stating the call is "only a test being conducted by the Putnam County Emergency Management to test the emergency notification system for Putnam County."

Cost for the system was $15,600 and included the equipment and 10,000 minutes of dial-up. After that amount is used, 911 will pay $0.15 per minute. Annual renewal costs are about $8,000 per year.

Money to purchase the system came from Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter's Forfeiture Fund.



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