WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - Receiving important information during an emergency can be life saving. The City of Whiteville has taken the concept and moved forward with it, establishing Alert Whiteville, an emergency notification system that will notify the public of an emergency instantly.
During Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Hal Lowder, the director of emergency services in Whiteville, gave a presentation about how it works and urged the public to sign up for it.
“This gives us emergency notifications instantaneously. If we have a hazardous materials incident out on the highway, a flooding incident, or a hurricane come in, we can push real-time information out. The emergency message would go out in the form of a text message, e-mail, voice message and be posted on social media,” Lowder said.
Alert Whiteville will be vital during hurricane season.
“We can push out tornado warnings and flood warnings. Since we have flood prone areas, we can send out a poll to see if folks living in those areas need help. You would just click yes if you do, and no if you don’t. The person may not be able to get to 9-1-1. It’s another way to check on people,” Lowder said.
It only takes a few clicks for Whiteville emergency officials to send out these alerts.
“I’m sending that information out to the press, I’m sending that information out to the pubic. So we do have a flood incident, we do have a hazardous materials incident, something that’s life-threatening, I can push that out very rapidly. We pushed one out the other day and all the text messages went out less than a second," said Lowder.
The system isn’t just for life-threatening situations, it can also be used to get general information out to the public.
“The service will also send out notifications to affected residents if there is ever a water outage or a boil water advisory," Lowder says. "If there’s a festival downtown, an alert will be sent to drivers that they might want take an alternate route.”
Lowder did want to point out that this is different than CodeRED, which is an emergency service provided by Columbus County. He says just because people are signed up for that, doesn’t mean they’re signed up for Alert Whiteville.
LAN lines have been programmed into the services databases. If there’s an emergency going in Whiteville, nearby residents will get a call to their home phone.
You can sign up for Alert Whiteville here.