City mulls reverse 911 alert system

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

FRANKLIN—City Manager Bucky Taylor agreed to check into sources of more funding that would allow the city to obtain the reverse 911 public alert system.

A presentation by Deputy Police Chief Bruce Edwards was given to the council Monday night.

Edwards said the objective of the interactive community notification system is to ensure effective communication with the residents of the city. They system, which cuts down on call time, can be used to deliver information and to mobilize responders in emergency situations, for communication during community policing efforts or getting other useful information to citizens.

He noted that the system could be used by any department, such as Community Development, Electric Department, Social Services and even the Downtown Franklin Association.

Public safety agencies could use the system for emergency notification, evacuation, natural disasters and crime prevention alerts, for example, while utilities may use it to notify customers of outages, road closings or community surveys.

&uot;It could also be used by our local government for business surveys, community event reminders and special program announcements,&uot; Edwards said.

He said the total amount for the system would cost $41,540. Various city departments interested in using the system have made pledges toward that total.

&uot;Chief (Vince) Holt (of Franklin Fire & Rescue) has also sent a letter to Franklin Southampton Charities requesting funding,&uot; said Edwards.

He said the next step is receiving an invitation to apply, with a December notification of the funds.

A letter was also sent to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, however, it is unlikely the project would be funded after the city already received a grant from the agency to obtain two new river gauges.

After the pledges, and with no grants factored in, the remaining cost to be funded would be just under $9,700.

Taylor said he will check with other departments, including the city schools, to see if they can help fund the remainder.