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‘Pulaski Alert’ system developed

Thanks to a $45,700 grant, Pulaski County will soon be able to notify citizens of emergency situations and other announcements through mass telephone callings.
Monday night, Pulaski County Emergency Management Coordinator Bobby Clark provided the Board of Supervisors with an explanation of the benefits and workings of the system.
Clark attributed the grant award to former Emergency Management Coordinator Willie Richardson, who submitted the application. Richardson is now Region 4 Coordinator for Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
According to Clark, the grant includes $32,700 to set up the system and $13,000 to cover the first two years of annual maintenance fees ($6,500).
Called “Pulaski Alert” the system would allow mass notifications to be sent to citizens, businesses or other organizations.
Clark said the system could be used for a variety of situations, including, but not limited to:
• Child abduction alerts;
• Evacuation notices for flooding or chemical spills;
• Notification of changes in services (such as refuse pickup) resulting from weather or other events; and
• Calling for members of a Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT) to respond to a hostage or other situation. He noted team members will even be able to respond whether they are available by pushing a number on the telephone keypad.
He presented a brief video that recounted how the system led to the recovery of an abducted child, and arrest of the suspect, within about half an hour of the crime. The incident took place in Frankfurt, Kent.
To issue an alert, an official makes a call to Twenty-first Century Communications, based in Columbus, Ohio. The alert area is defined on an electronic map, thus enabling the center to retrieve telephone numbers of residents in affected areas. The alert is then sent to all residents through a call that rings in all homes simultaneously.
Citizens, businesses and organizations can chose to “opt in” or “opt out” of the system. Sign up can be completed online and can include cellular telephone numbers and other communications devices.
Both Giles County and the City of Radford have similar systems through a different company, but those systems require a $15,000 annual maintenance fee, Clark said.

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‘Pulaski Alert’ system developed

Thanks to a $45,700 grant, Pulaski County will soon be able to notify citizens of emergency situations and other announcements through mass telephone callings.
Monday night, Pulaski County Emergency Management Coordinator Bobby Clark provided the Board of Supervisors with an explanation of the benefits and workings of the system.
Clark attributed the grant award to former Emergency Management Coordinator Willie Richardson, who submitted the application. Richardson is now Region 4 Coordinator for Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
According to Clark, the grant includes $32,700 to set up the system and $13,000 to cover the first two years of annual maintenance fees ($6,500).
Called “Pulaski Alert” the system would allow mass notifications to be sent to citizens, businesses or other organizations.
Clark said the system could be used for a variety of situations, including, but not limited to:
• Child abduction alerts;
• Evacuation notices for flooding or chemical spills;
• Notification of changes in services (such as refuse pickup) resulting from weather or other events; and
• Calling for members of a Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT) to respond to a hostage or other situation. He noted team members will even be able to respond whether they are available by pushing a number on the telephone keypad.
He presented a brief video that recounted how the system led to the recovery of an abducted child, and arrest of the suspect, within about half an hour of the crime. The incident took place in Frankfurt, Kent.
To issue an alert, an official makes a call to Twenty-first Century Communications, based in Columbus, Ohio. The alert area is defined on an electronic map, thus enabling the center to retrieve telephone numbers of residents in affected areas. The alert is then sent to all residents through a call that rings in all homes simultaneously.
Citizens, businesses and organizations can chose to “opt in” or “opt out” of the system. Sign up can be completed online and can include cellular telephone numbers and other communications devices.
Both Giles County and the City of Radford have similar systems through a different company, but those systems require a $15,000 annual maintenance fee, Clark said.

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