Summit County implements new emergency alert system
When the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police Department consolidated dispatch services last year, the county inherited a new system for alerting the public about different community emergencies.
Chris Crowley, Summit County’s emergency manager, announced the rollout of the system last week during a meeting with the County Council. Registration is now open.
“This is a great thing for us because it is a really robust system and it will cut down on unnecessary notifications,” he said. “We are taking what was formally four systems and combining them into one.”
The new countywide alert system will allow different agencies — Summit County, Summit County Health Department, Park City Municipal and the Sheriff’s Office — to share information to users. Various government partners, such as Wasatch County, will be able to access the information.
Information will be sent out to registered users through various modes, such as voice, text, video, email or fax, among others. The alerts can then be easily posted to the county’s social media platforms. Another benefit, Crowley said, is that the system allows the county to send the messages out to specific geographical areas.
“The nice thing about it is that we have complete flexibility in terms of the media that we send it out on,” he said. “We will then continually send out those messages based on the requirements that we provide. We can also predefine the areas to send the message to particular users.”
The county is in the process of uploading 32,000 contacts into the new system. But, Crowley said, people who were signed up for the older system still need to register.
“We would prefer that everyone signs up again so that we have updated information,” he said. “There are so many different options on the new system that it just makes sense.”
The county will use the alert system to notify the community about emergencies, such as earthquakes, fires and floods. He said the kind of emergencies that are most commonly encountered are wildland fires, traffic accidents, severe weather or situations with law enforcement.
“This isn’t a system where we would be notifying people about a concern somewhere in town,” he said. “But, we do live in an area where we have many different hazards. It’s never a question of if, but when.”
Crowley encouraged everyone in the county to sign up for the new system. He said the old alert platform is gradually being phased out.
“This will allow us to have better communication across Summit County and neighboring communities,” he said. “It’s not that we are helping the county, but the county is helping the community. We want informed citizens and we want you to know if there are issues and how to take action. We want to be able to notify people as far in advance as we possibly can with accurate information.”
To sign up for the new system, go to summitcountyalerts.org or parkcityalerts.org.
Meredith Reed was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Summit County Democratic Party and said she sees an opportunity to ride the so-called blue wave that saw a Democratic surge nationally and within the state.