Public Alert System Uses 21st Century Technology

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Winnebago County, IL is working on a new, state-of-the-art public alert system that has the potential to reach up to 284,000 people, reported WREX-TV. The system is intended to push out alerts in the event of emergencies such as evacuations, flooding, an active shooter situation, and more. The most critical benefit of the new system, using updated technology, is that it can push out notifications with greater speed, per Winnebago County’s Information Technology Department Director, Gus Gentner.

Don Gasparini, the Deputy Chief for the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, added that they can now target specific areas with alerts. “On a map of Winnebago County, we can draw a polygon around a certain area, and every cell tower within that area will receive this message,” Gasparini explained. “It’ll push it out to everyone within that radius.”

“Everyone uses their cell phones all the time,” said Dan Magers, the county’s Deputy Chief Information Officer. “This gives us the ability to hit them on their cell phones and emails or even with a special app called AlertMe.”

The system can also accommodate different languages. “It’s much more customizable because you can choose what language you’d like to use,” Magers said.

November 6, 2019

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