New Alert System Warns Of Emergencies In Pass Christian - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/16/05

New Alert System Warns Of Emergencies In Pass Christian

It's a hot, beautiful, serene day at the Pass Christian Harbor. But Harbor Clerk Glover Hayden knows trouble can erupt in just seconds.

"We had a water spout out here the other day. It stayed down for about 5-6 minutes."

And if a hurricane threatens the Coast, or a fire breaks out, Hayden worries about being able to reach all the boat owners, especially those who live out of town.

"In the previous storms, I would actually have to get up here and call basically 300 plus people to let them know to evacuate the harbor."

Now, Hayden can contact any boat owner in just seconds with the new "Leader Alert" system.

If there's an emergency, he can record one message and the computer automatically calls everyone on his list all at once.

Jason Voigts is the account manager for Leader Technologies.

"On the computer, it will tell you who received the call and who didn't. All the people that did not acknowledge by pressing #1, you can call them again, and just keep doing that instead of dialing a number one at a time."

The same software will be installed in the Public Works Department to send out boil water notices. The Police and Fire Departments can also use the system to warn residents of emergencies, from house fires to train derailments.

Fire Chief Richard Marvil said "It will prevent a lot of confusion. The faster you let the public know that there's a problem, the faster they can react, and give them a sense of security."

With more than 6,500 residents to notify at one time, city leaders are glad to have this safety option right at their fingertips.

"We haven't used it yet. I hope we don't need it this year, but it's here if we do," Hayden said.

It cost the city of Pass Christian $500 to cover the installation and training. The city will have to pay a $200 service fee every month to keep the system running.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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