The mix of transportation infrastructure in Lake Township and the possibility of an accident requiring residents to be notified quickly of an evacuation order was a major factor in his research of emergency phone alert systems, Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said.
Acting on the chief’s recommendation, the township trustees at their last meeting approved a three-year contract with One Call Now GEO, Rossford, O., to provide emergency and public service phone notices for residents and businesses.
The first year will cost the township $4,428 – about 90 cents per user. Chief Hummer said the second and third years will likely average about 70 cents. The trustees authorized paying for the system from the general fund.
“With the largeness of the township and the diversity of our transportation networks in particular – expressways, state routes, rail, and air – I thought it would be particularly important for us to be able to notify residents in an affected area or township-wide if there is something happening and we need to have them evacuate or shelter in place,” Chief Hummer said. “We do have a lot of transportation infrastructure here and with that there is a potential for accidents to occur. With this system we can pinpoint any location in the township, send out an alert almost instantly to folks in those areas and give them further instructions.”
If there was a train derailment just west of the Moline area, for example, and there was an easterly wind, the subdivisions in Moline could be notified. Crime alerts, natural disasters, search and rescue operations, and
The recorded notifications are limited to 60 seconds but “you can get a lot of information out in a minute,” the chief said, adding the system is less expensive than other systems he looked into and easy to use.
“It’s not limited to public safety announcements but can be used for public service notices such as brush pick-up or snow emergencies,” he said. “There is no time limit for us to use it but we don’t want to abuse it because people would start ignoring the phone calls.”
A total of five phones per household can be enrolled in the system, which can be linked to cell phones.
Someone living outside the township but who has an elderly parent in the township can also be linked to the system, the chief said.
Township households will automatically be enrolled in the system but can opt out.
“As soon as we’re up and running there will be a link on the township Web site that will give the instructions for opting out or for adding additional phones to the service,” he said.
The service is in place in Rossford. The city of Northwood, village of Millbury, and the Northwestern Water & Sewer District also plan to implement it.
Chief Hummer said he expects the service to be operating in the township in about two weeks.