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05 - 28 - 2014

Blaine County: Emergency Alert System

 By Joey Martin

Story Created: May 27, 2014 at 4:36 PM MDT

Story Updated: May 27, 2014 at 7:24 PM MDT
Hailey, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Keeping the citizens of Blaine County informed and safe is the goal of emergency personnel and elected officials.

A new emergency alert system in Blaine County is increasing those efforts.

Joey martin for Idaho’s First News takes a look at the new program and what it will do for the citizens of Blaine County.

Last year the beaver creek fire put Blaine County in a state of emergency for days.

For the residents, knowing when and where to evacuate was a task the old emergency alert system wasn't up to.

That's why the county decided it was time for something new.

"One of the problems that we had during the Beaver Creek Fire was getting people registered... was often difficult. So in terms of sign-up... in terms of efficient staff utilization I think were on a better track right now."
Said Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen.

The new system is the Blaine County emergency alert system.

Which is from a company called "FIRSTCALL".

The system is currently in use.

But, the registration portion is still a few weeks away.

"We were just trying to have a conversation with our emergency communications director about the interface. We want to make sure that its user friendly, legible, easy to understand."
Said, Schoen.

During the registration process citizens are asked to identify their current home location, e-mail and phone numbers.

Then choose which type of notification you would like to receive either direct call, e-mail or text message.

"In the event of an emergency we would activate our system either through the GIS component. Which is, for instance... there was a situation in Hailey, but for only a part of Hailey we may choose to just notify that particular section of Hailey. Once registered, if we had a notification for an emergency alert for all of Blaine County we could send that notification out as well."
Said, Robin Stellers. Director of the Blaine County Emergency Communication Department.

For a rural community such as Blaine County, having an emergency alert system that works is crucial for daily life.

"It's so important in a community like this. We have the possibility for natural disasters... whether it's an avalanche or a wildfire or a flood situation... and so it is a really important feature for a rural community such as ours."
Said Schoen.

Using the best technology available to help keep the citizens of Blaine County alert, informed and safe.

To access the Blaine County emergency alert system all you need to do is log onto the Blaine County website at WWW.BLAINECOUNTY. ID .US.

The registration portion of the site is not yet activated.

But officials from Blaine County say it was be only a matter of weeks.