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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Message system up and running

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Putnam County is well prepared for weather emergencies with a 1-year old Emergency Notification System that is up and running at the Emergency Operations Center.

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

Community residents can sign up to receive the notifications by going to the county government Web site and entering their information.

A recent test at DePauw University using the system was very successful.

"We sent text message to 2,500 people, 25 landlines and a bunch of e-mails," said Putnam County Emergency Management Director Dave Costin. "They all were delivered in about 15 minutes."

No real alarms have been sent out on the system yet this year.

"We haven't had any tornado activity -- yet," said Costin.

The system can also be used to notify people in a particular area of a missing child, fugitive, sexual predators, road closings, school closings and emergency declarations like tornadoes, floods or even train derailments.

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

"It costs about $1,500 every time we do the whole county. So we would like to have people add their text and e-mail address to be notified because that doesn't cost the county anything," said Costin. "The important thing is to note what location you want. For instance, if you live in Cloverdale and work in Greencastle and we send a warning for the Cloverdale area, you might not get it in Greencastle

"We update landlines monthly but people need to register their cell phones," he continued. "You can register more than one location for them. You might get two texts one for your home and one for your work location."

To add an e-mail address or mobile phone number for emergency notifications, go to the Putnam County Government Web site at www.co.putnam.in.us/911 and click on Emergency Notification System. The page will give instructions on how to enter information.

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