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County develops emergency system to save lives, property

Posted: June 18, 2009 8:38 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

A new emergency-alert system will give L.A. County emergency personnel a more precise instrument with which to warn the public of imminent danger.

Los Angeles County officials announced the launch of the Alert L.A. County system on Thursday.

The mass notification system can send alerts to residents and businesses by phone, text message and e-mail, according to a county press release.

The system will cost $1.97 million to operate over the next five years, according to the statement.

“This vital system will alert our residents so they can take action to protect life and property,” said Tony Bell, spokesman for L.A. County Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

The technology allows emergency personnel to pinpoint the area where the emergency notification will be broadcast. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies working in the Emergency Communication Center will be able to draw boundaries around the target area and provide residents with detailed information on the nature of the emergency and what actions may need to be taken, according to the statement. The mapping feature is precise enough to allow the exclusion of a single home, which is useful in a hostage situation.

If a call is picked up by an answering machine when an alert is being issued, a recorded message will be left. When the system detects a busy signal or an unanswered phone, the number will be re-dialed twice. The system also has the ability to detect and communicate with telecommunication devices for the deaf, the statement said.

Currently, 7.1 million land-line phone numbers in Los Angeles County are programmed into the system. Residents can register their cell phones, e-mail addresses and voice-over-internet-protocol phones through the L.A. County’s alert Web site: alert.lacounty.gov.

 

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