- Residents of Thurston County can take advantage of a new telephone alert system called the "Community Notification System". Thurston County, in cooperation with the local cities and towns, is offering the new technology to better inform the public during emergencies or disasters.
Thurston County Emergency Management Manager Sandy Johnson says the Community Notification System can be adapted to the particular emergency situation. "If we have a message that should go county-wide, like information about an ice storm, we can send it to phones across the area. If we have a situation like a hazardous chemical spill, we can send the message only to those in the impact zone."
The emergency alerts can be sent by text message, email, pager, or voicemail based on the preference of the person subscribing. Messages can also be sent to social media. A notification could ask people to take certain actions such as evacuation or it could be regarding significant police or fire activities. Subscribers can also sign up for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather alerts and other services. Those who live in the river basins in the county (Chehalis, Deschutes, Nisqually and Skookumchuck) can sign up for flood alerts.
Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake says this is an important improved service for county residents. "I am excited about the new capability to quickly and efficiently notify Thurston County residents in the event of an emergency."
Johnson says the system was recently tested by issuing a burn ban alert. "We were able to send the message of extreme fire danger to some 40,000 phones in the county to let people know about the fire risk and what NOT to do until the ban was lifted."
To find out more about the Community Notification System program and to sign up for notifications, please visit www.co.thurston.wa.us/em/alertsense