First responders, businesses and citizens to benefit from ALERT FM
JACKSON, Miss. – September 25, 2008 – Global Security Systems (GSS) announced today that Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, has purchased ALERT FM, an FM radio-based emergency alert and messaging system.
ALERT FM allows authorized emergency management officials to send alerts and messages to specific groups of first responders, business and citizens before, during and after a crisis. Because the system is FM radio-based, information can be distributed to a large number of recipients in a matter of seconds. Targeted alerts and messages are delivered by satellite to the data subcarrier of FM transmission towers and can be received on ALERT FM receivers and other mobile devices, including PDAs, cell phones and other specialized receivers equipped with FM chips. Potential notifications include not only tornado or other severe weather warnings but geographically-targeted boil water notices and traffic alerts.
“Residents in Oktibbeha County will have the potential to receive emergency information from their local emergency management agency as well as National Weather Service severe weather warnings through personal, portable ALERT FM receivers,” said Jim Lowery, Global Security Systems (GSS) general manager. “The county’s initiative to utilize ALERT FM technology reflects a strong commitment to safeguarding the community – an effort that we anticipate expanding throughout the Southeast and, ultimately, the nation.”
The reliability and redundancy of ALERT FM lies in its use of a pre-existing network of FM towers, which in turn provides overlapping coverage of an area. The ALERT FM receivers automatically tune themselves to the strongest FM signal in their current locations. The initial Oktibbeha County-area stations participating in ALERT FM are WKOR (94.9), WMAB (89.9), WMBC (103.1), WMXU (106.1), WSMS (99.9) and WSYE (93.3). This ensures distribution over a large geographical “footprint,” giving emergency managers the potential to reach more than 50,000 citizens in Oktibbeha County.
“Because ALERT FM utilizes FM-radio technology, our county’s emergency messaging system will now have much broader coverage than our previous system,” said Jim Britt, Oktibbeha County emergency management director. “This system is so flexible and can be used in so many ways – it’s going to be a great benefit to the people of our county.”
To further strengthen communication within the county, Britt has overseen Oktibbeha County’s purchase of approximately 400 ALERT FM receivers, which will be placed in all government office buildings, county schools and the Oktibbeha County Hospital.
“With ALERT FM, we will be able to send timely alerts not only to responders but also to our citizens,” Britt said.
Oktibbeha County joins the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security (MOHS), the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and several other Mississippi counties in utilizing ALERT FM for emergency alert and messaging. In 2007, MOHS launched ALERT FM to allow it and MEMA to distribute real-time notifications to targeted first responders or citizens across the state who have an ALERT FM receiver.
More than 50 radio stations from the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters and the Mississippi Public Broadcasters are participating in the ALERT FM network. “Broadcaster support is critical to the deployment of a communications infrastructure that will ultimately save lives,” Lowery said. Associations of broadcasters in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida unanimously support the FM-based system.
ALERT FM receivers are available to Oktibbeha County residents at www.alertfm.com and at Starkville Computers on Hwy 12W. Easily programmable, the devices are portable, run on AA batteries and cost less than $50.
Citizens can also sign up to receive emergency information, including notices sent by the Oktibbeha Emergency Management Agency, via SMS and email messages at www.alertfm.org/ms/oktibbeha.
For more information visit www.alertfm.com.
About ALERT FM
ALERT FM is an aggregator of emergency information with multiple contact paths for mass notification. Emergency information is delivered via the data subcarrier of existing FM radio stations, SMS and email. Potential messages include severe weather warnings, homeland security notices, hurricane evacuation instructions, utility notices, plant or school closings, employee notifications and traffic alerts. First responders, businesses, school officials and citizens can receive these alerts and messages based on geographic or organizational groupings through specially designed ALERT FM receivers or SMS and email. More than 20 million people in nine states have access to ALERT FM technology.
About Global Security Systems LLC
Global Security Systems LLC is a systems integrator, developer and operator of the ALERT FM system. The company has its headquarters in Jackson, Miss., with offices in Louisiana, Florida and Washington, D.C.