Boone County to switch emergency alert systems

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BOONE COUNTY – Boone County is changing the way it communicates to residents during emergencies.

The county is changing emergency alert systems from Nixle to RAVE Alert, a service provided by a website called Smart911.

Joint Communications and the Office of Emergency Management will send phone and email notifications to people who sign up for Rave Alert. Those notifications include emergencies, advisories, weather alerts or traffic alerts.

The emergency  management office already uses Smart911 to allow people to enter information they would want dispatchers to know if they call 911.

Joe Piper, deputy director of Joint Communications, said about 4,700 people were registered to receive Nixle notifications.

“We’re hopeful that everyone that’s signed up as a Nixle subscriber will sign up as a RAVE Alert subscriber to continue to receive the type of alerts that they now get on Nixle, plus take advantage of the technology that comes with the new RAVE Alert system,” he said.

Piper said RAVE Alert can target alerts to specific areas and post on Twitter and Facebook when an emergency notification is entered. However, Tom Hurley, the Office of Emergency Management deputy director, said people should not go to just the social media sites.

“There are a couple different systems that impact the live posts,” he said. “It’s much more reliable to be a subscriber.”

Maggie Buckland, an alerts subscriber, said an emergency alert service is a good purchase for the county.

“Many things cost money, but there are things that are definitely worth the money that they do cost and alerts are a good thing,” she said.

The county will start using RAVE Alert Oct. 1. Until then, it will use Nixle to inform people of the switch.