Non-Profit Coalition Announces New Emergency Alert System

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

During an emergency, there's an alert system in place to notify you of details, whether on the local or national level. Just recently, a new plan was announced to the nation. The plan is not available yet, but Charlottesville officials say its ability to connect coast to coast will be a great resource.

Members representing several emergency response groups from all over the country met in the Nation's Capital. Their purpose was to announce a new plan for a nationwide alert system.

It's called the National Emergency and Alerting Response System, also known as "N.E.A.R.S." It was created by a non-profit coalition of first responders across the United States.

Those responders say there is a need to for better communication during emergencies throughout our country. Our neighbors in Charlottesville agree.

"They can get the news across faster," said Gail Harris, a local resident.

"Communication has to be clear, prompt, and open. The media has to keep everyone informed," added Linda Morris, another local resident.

This new plan will work with the Emergency Provider Access Directory, which officials are calling "E-PAD", a group of computers already installed at hundreds of emergency and government agencies. Those computers can be linked to talk to each other coast to coast.

Though N.E.A.R.S. is not connected in Charlottesville, our current plan is efficient.

"Through City Watch, computer generated telephone messages; we can go to a computer and at the rate of 1200 per hour, we could send messages to a large section, " said Kaye Harden, the Emergency Coordinator for Charlottesville.

With N.E.A.R.S.' ability to connect every official from the east coast to the west coast, Harden says this could be a good thing.

"The system they are proposing here sounds like it might help streamline the flow of information to the jurisdictions. Anything that will do that faster is a positive thing, " said Harden.

Again, N.E.A.R.S. is not online in Charlottesville, but officials are looking into it.

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