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Fredericksburg launches electronic alert system
Date published: 7/21/2010
And if users opt to give their physical address as part of registration, city officials can send geographically targeted messages about emergencies in their immediate area.
There is a separate feed for river flooding warnings, and there are several choices for weather alerts. Residents can ask for only severe weather alerts, such as thunderstorm or tornado watches and warnings, or they can ask for broader weather alerts, which include heat and flooding advisories.
All weather information comes from the National Weather Service, not the city. That's why, when a brief but severe storm hit the city on Friday, no weather alert went out over the system, because the NWS never saw it coming.
Sterne said about 300 users have signed up for the system so far. That includes city employees, who will use internal feeds to communicate with each other. For the fire department, this replaces a less-efficient pager alert system.
The alert system can be set up to send text-based messages to an e-mail account, cell phone or other mobile device, but it does not send audio messages.
The city's reverse-911 system still operates with that capability, but it's not as fast; reverse 911 can make only 24 calls at a time.
Emily Battle: 540/374-5413
Area residents can now sign up for the following electronic alert services:Fredericksburg: fredericksburgalert.com Stafford County: staffordalert.com King George County: kgalert.com Caroline County: carolinealert.com University of Mary Washington: alert.umw.edu
Users should be aware of what charges they will incur for incoming text messages before signing up a cell phone.