Jackson & Josephine Counties conduct Citizen Alert Test to prepare for emergencies
You may have received an alert on your phone or an email in your inbox Wednesday morning. There is nothing to be alarmed of as Jackson and Josephine Counties were conducting a Citizen Alert Test.
Volunteers spent a few hours of their day answering phone calls for any citizen who may have had questions or fear. Ashland Fire and Rescue representatives and Illinois Valley Fire representatives were present.
In the first five minutes that the alert went out over 99,000 contacts were reached - calls, texts, home phones and business phones. By the end of the test over 197,000 contacts were reached.
This test is conducted annually.
"The reason that we did this alert at this time is so that we could be prepared for fire season. This capability is just one of the many tools we've used to alert of evacuations or current conditions regarding fires in our area," said Stacey Belt, Emergency Manager for Jackson County.
Belt said it is extremely important for citizens to be opted in and have found it to be very useful.
"What we've found in the California wildfires most recently is that there may not be time or the opportunity for search and rescue or Jackson County Sheriff's Office to come to your door and knock. Sometimes this will be your only notification," said Belt.
In case of emergencies, the system is able to geographically map areas of evacuations and provide a call back number for citizens to get additional information.
Citizens are even given the option to prioritize how they would like to be notified of an emergency first as well as include several locations of interest.
For any resident who has not opted in to receive alerts on their cell phones, emails or text messages, Belt recommends you go to Rvem.org. This is a free service.