A fairly new program in McPherson County will send out emergency notifications during severe weather and other emergency situations.

A fairly new program in McPherson County will send out emergency notifications during severe weather and other emergency situations.

Everbridge allows McPherson County Communications to notify the whole county or an area within the county of emergency situations through any source.

Darrin Frazier, director of McPherson County Communications, provided McPherson city commissioners with an update on Everbridge during a commission meeting Monday morning. Frazier encouraged residents in both the city and the county to sign onto the program.

“(Everbridge) will send alerts for all severe weather,” he said. “It’s a great backup to tornado sirens.”
Jeff Deal, fire chief, also encouraged residents to sign up for the alerts, saying the city’s sirens sound only for tornados and not all severe weather.

Julie McClure, administrative assistant with McPherson County Communications, also said the system won’t send an alert for each and every instance of severe weather.

“Of course, in a situation where it’s life-threatening, we’ll do everything in our power to notify those affected,” she said. “But don’t assume you’ll get a notification every time there’s severe weather. Pay attention to other sources for information as well.”

Frazier said landline phones within the county are already set onto the Everbridge system. For other forms of contact, such as e-mail and cellular devices, residents will need to sign up for the program.
The sign up page can be found by going to the McPherson County website, www.mcphersoncountyks.us and clicking on “Emergency Alert” in the left-hand column on the page. Participants can choose whether to receive notifications through e-mail, text or voice.

McPherson County Emergency Management signed onto the program in late 2012. Frazier said the county is signed onto a six-year commitment and is almost at the end of it’s first year.

Mayor Tom Brown said the system is integral to the stepping up of emergency management within the city.

“Hopefully we’ll be more prepared than ever for the next storm season,” he said.

In other business:

• Commissioners signed a letter requesting a six-month exemption from Kansas’ new concealed carry law. The law states residents and workers will be allowed to carry concealed weapons into municipal and public buildings. City commissioners are requesting the exemption from the law in order to evaluate the cost and benefit of installing security measures in certain buildings. The exemption will expire on Jan. 1.

• Commissioners approved an ordinance that defines First, Hartup and Hill Streets as main trafficways within McPherson. Commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing improvement of those trafficways. Nick Gregory, city administrator, said the two measures were passed in order to move forward with the bond application for the First Street Reconstruction Project.