EDITOR’S NOTE: Winter is technically over a month away, but recent emergencies such as the fires in Northern California with mass evacuations are a reminder about being prepared at ALL TIMES for emergencies all kinds. This week on his Facebook page Tillamook County Emergency Management Director Gordon McCraw shared information about the emergency alert systems used by Tillamook 911, TCSO, TPUD and other organizations. Make sure you and your household are signed up to received alerts. The Tillamook County Pioneer monitors many different alerts and shares/posts these alerts as soon as possible, but to ensure you receive the alerts most important to your community, sign up now. It can save your life.
By Gordon McCraw, Tillamook County Emergency Management Director
There are two Alert Systems used in Tillamook County, Tillamook 911 maintains one. This one can do voice notification as well as text and email notifications. Landline numbers are already in the system and are updated monthly. If you have an unlisted number, or utilize only a cellphone, you should go to www.tillamook911.com and select the 911 Alerts tab then complete the registration which will then attach your phone number to the selected address. This way, anytime alerts are sent that affect your address you fill get the notification.
Tillamook County Emergency Management uses the system Nixle. You can register to receive these notifications at www.nixle.com. I am the one that sends these notifications that are received as a text message on your phone, or at an email you specify when you register. You can attach up to 5 zip codes in Tillamook. The system does automatically send out weather alerts. Warnings go out 24-7 while Watches and Advisories are not sent after 10pm or before 6am. Everything else, road closures, water alerts, etc, I send as I am able after I see them.
Both of these system are free systems to you. The need to be in these systems is one of the take-aways from the California fires. These were fast moving fires with little notice, so these alert systems were very valuable. I will also mention that text messaging uses less bandwidth, in other words, the system can send out text messages at a much faster rate than voice notifications and have a higher success rate. One of problems with the system is the local switching stations. In one of the California cases they sent out an alert to over 15,000 numbers at one time. The system cannot call 15,000 customers at once, so it took time. Texting would have been more efficient. If texting is not an option, then voice will work.
I suggest you register for both systems. We back up each other, should one be out of service, then you still hopefully get the other. I should also mention that TPUD utilizes Nixle as well to notify its customers about outages.