December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County gets new alert system

ELYRIA — Lorain County commissioners have purchased an emergency notification system that they say will help communications during emergencies.

Commissioner Lori Kokoski said that in the case of a tornado, for instance, the system will be able to send warnings through texts and emails for people to take shelter. She said in the summer many people are inside their homes with the air conditioning running and might not hear a tornado siren.

“It seems to be the best alternative to notify people in case of an emergency,” Kokoski said.

The contract, approved Wednesday by the commissioners, will cost the county $36,350 per year and will last through mid-July 2017.

A news release from commissioners said five systems were looked at over a six-month period before the selection committee settled on the deal with Inspiron Logistics.

The emergency notification system will be available for use by police, fire departments and municipal governments across the county, Kokoski said. Each of those entities will have to sign agreements that set out the terms under which messages can be sent to those signed up to receive alerts.

Kokoski said the rules will prohibit sending mundane messages telling people about meetings, for example. If that happens, she said, people might not pay attention to the important emergency messages because the alerts would become just another part of the spam they receive.

“We want to make sure when people get this notification they know it’s an emergency and it doesn’t get diluted,” she said.

The system will be administered by the Lorain County 911 Call Center, she said.

Kokoski said the system will be up and running soon but didn’t know an exact date.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.