Old System, New Problem - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Old System, New Problem

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Douglas County wants more residents to sign up for its emergency alert system, that allows dispatch to send messages directly to a land-line or cell phone. Officials say the number of people that can even receive alerts has dropped significantly because of cell phones.

"These are local alerts, not necessarily the Emergency Alert System, type alerts..." says Ron Sagen, Director of Douglas County 911 Emergency Services, "There's no need to alert county wide for a specific neighborhood problem. Or a specific neighborhood emergency. Residents at Lake Tahoe may not necessarily be worried about a flash flood in the Fish Springs area."

The dispatch center for Douglas and Alpine Counties has the ability to send a custom message to every phone is a designated area. So they could send alerts to a single building, or several blocks. 

"We can actually draw around, for instance, a suspect's house..." says Sagen, "Well sometimes you don't want the bad people to know, that you're sending out an alert, or that the bad people know that something's happening."

The alert system (or some form of it) has been in place for 16 years according to Sagen, but they are losing the number of people affected because of cell phones. In five years, officials say the number of registered landlines has dropped from 51,000 to 20,000 and only 1,000 cell phones are registered with the Douglas County emergency alert system.

These regional emergency alerts are meant to supplement the EAS and Washoe County uses a similar system.
To sign up for Douglas County click here
To sign up for Washoe County click here.

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