Effective April 1, the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (911 Center) will implement a notification service (reverse 911 calling) in the event of local tornado warnings to alert those in the path of the storms
Brad Mullinax, Director of the 911 Center, said the calls will be placed automatically free of charge to anyone in DeKalb County who has landline telephone service with DTC Communications, Ben Lomand, or Twin Lakes and who may be threatened by a tornado. Those wanting to be alerted by cell phone, text messaging, or e-mail will have to register but there will be no charge to sign up.
The Hyper-Reach emergency notification service is integrated with NOAA weather alerts for approaching tornadoes and storm paths. The system automatically receives information from NOAA of a tornado along with its predicted path and areas that will likely be affected. Hyper-Reach can be set to automatically call all the phone numbers in that predicted area with a warning.
"The 911 center has subscribed to Hyper-Reach to provide weather warnings to the public of DeKalb County," said Mullinax. "The way this thing works is, when there is a severe weather warning that has been issued for DeKalb County, then its going to call the people of the county on their home telephone line. It will not call everyone. It will only call the people in the path of the storm. It will use our public switch network, which is DTC Communications, or if you live across the river it'll use Twin Lakes or if you're close to the Warren County line it'll use Ben Lomand's telephone network. The calls will go out when a warning is issued so when a tornado warning is issued, these calls are going to start going out. This will not be used just for severe thunderstorm warnings, it'll only be strictly for tornado warnings," said Mullinax.
"When we call you at home (on landline telephone), there will be no opt out for you not to receive the service. We're going to call you if there is a tornado warning. There will be no way for you to say, I don't want to receive those calls. We feel its a public safety issue and we will call you in the event there is a tornado headed toward your house. The system makes up to three attempts to reach you by phone. If you don't answer the call by the third attempt, it is supposed to leave you a message on your answering machine or voice mail," said Mullinax.
"There are limitations to the system," he said. "When these things (calls) go out, there is a time frame for the warning. For example, a warning might be issued at 9:00 p.m. and be in effect until 9:30 p.m. One of the limitations with the system is that once that warning expires, then it will stop calling the people of DeKalb County. If it does not get everyone (in the storm path) notified before the storm warning expires, then the calls will stop when the storm warning expires. It has the capability of calling between 300 and 500 people per minute. It will only call home telephone numbers by default. So for cell phones, text messaging and that kind of thing, it will require a different type of procedure. But by default, everyone in DeKalb County will be notified in the event of a tornado warning on their home (landline) telephone number, if you live in the path of the storm," said Mullinax.
"Sometimes people don't realize the limitations of a cellular network," he said. " For instance during the tornado here on February 29, we had problems with people in the county making calls in the area of Cookeville Highway, where the storm hit. We had responders who could not call out because the cellular network was just overwhelmed with calls. So I want to take this opportunity again to stress how important it is for people to keep their home (landline) telephone service, if for nothing else, to receive severe weather warnings. This service we're providing to the county is free. It doesn't cost the public anything. We're paying for it with Emergency Communications District
(ECD) funds. It won't increase your taxes. There is no cost associated with this. What we're asking is that you try to maintain that home (landline) telephone service so we can get you notified quickly in the event of an emergency," said Mullinax.
"We will start accepting sign ups on April 1," he said. " If you want to sign up for tornado warnings for cell phones, text messaging, or e-mail notifications, you can click the following links at http://www.hyper-reach.com/tndekalbsignup.html or visit http://www.dekalb911.org
No signs ups are required for landline customers of DTC, Ben Lomand, or Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperatives. Those telephone numbers are already in the DeKalb 911 database.
The terms and conditions are as follows:
"DeKalb County, TN" provides this notification service for informational purposes only and makes every effort to post accurate and reliable information. "DeKalb County, TN" makes neither warranties, guarantees nor representations of any type as to the content, accuracy or completeness of the information contained in or disseminated through the notification service, or any related services.
The User understands when subscribing to this notification service that "DeKalb County, TN" cannot guarantee 100 percent delivery of any message in a timely manner. "DeKalb County, TN" utilizes third parties' infrastructure to deliver messages such as Text Messages (SMS) and voice calls that may be unavailable due to those third parties' infrastructure issues. These may be due to congestion, weather, power, acts of terrorism, etc.
Furthermore, this notification service is dependent upon external providers such as your telephone carrier, your wireless carrier or e-mail delivery service, and it is dependent upon the proper functioning of your own telephonic equipment, such as your telephone, mobile phone, or PBX.
"DeKalb County, TN" will make every effort to ensure delivery of messages, but due to above unforeseen circumstances and due to these dependencies, "DeKalb County, TN" cannot guarantee delivery of any message to you in a timely manner, nor can it guarantee that any notification will be received by the intended recipient.
Service costs, such as phone usage and text message charges, from your carrier are your responsibility.
The services, Information, and data made available through this service are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind. "DeKalb County, TN" and its authorized agents and contractors make no representations or warranties regarding the condition of functionality of this service, its suitability for use, of that these services will be uninterrupted or error-free.
"DeKalb County, TN" and its authorized agents and contractors shall not be liable for any loss or injury caused in whole, or in part, by their actions, omissions, or contingencies beyond their control, including in procuring, compiling, or delivering the information, or arising out of any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in the information regardless of how caused, or arising out of any user's decision, or action taken or not taken in reliance upon information furnished.
"DeKalb County, TN" and its authorized agents and contractors shall not, in any event, be liable for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental, or consequential damages, including. without limitation, lost revenues or lost profits, arising out of or in any way connected with the use or misuse of the information or lack of information through this service, or with the delay or inability to use this service, or from any information, documents, services, software, or other material obtained through this service, or otherwise arising out of the use of this service, whether based on contract, tort, strict liability or otherwise, even if "DeKalb County, TN" and/or any of its authorized agents, contractors, employees, or affiliates have been advised of the possibility of damages
For Text Message Notifications
While SMS text messaging service is included in the "DeKalb County, TN" package, the standard carrier charges for your land-line and mobile services will still apply. When an alert occurs, "DeKalb County, TN" will send an SMS to the designated number. If the SMS recipient does not want SMS sent to this number they can send the keyword "STOP" at any time to cancel the SMS portion only. If there are any questions during the SMS session, the user can simply call 800-737-5080 to obtain help instructions. If you have opted for SMS Service, then your "DeKalb County, TN" alert notifications will be received via SMS (text-message) to the accepted mobile number at a rate of 1 or more SMS messages per qualified event.
By selecting the "I Accept" box, you are acknowledging you understand the above statements and are agreeing to register for the "DeKalb County, TN" notification service.