WALTON COUNTY, Fla. - Severe weather over the weekend provided the perfect opportunity for Walton County Emergency managers. They tested the county's new AlertWalton system in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week.
"We're the 32 county to come onto the program," said Jeff Goldberg, the Director of Walton County Emergency Management.
The program will not only be useful in times of weather emergencies but in natural disasters as well. It's funded by the state and free to counties to sign up. It allows Emergency Management to inform residents about severe weather, fire and floods.
"As soon as you register for the system and opt in to the system, when the NWS sends out a watch or a warning, you'll automatically get that information," said Goldberg.
Other county offices like the Sheriff's Office and Fire Rescue can tap into the benefits as well.
"They're all looking into opting in to the program underneath Emergency Management's umbrella, which could save the county about $60,000 a year," said Goldberg.
But in order to truly be successful and potentially life-saving, people have to sign up. The program already has access to home phone numbers in Walton County. Residents can also receive texts and calls to their cell phones, but it requires registration online. There's even an App called Contact Bridge to get push notifications.
"We would like everybody in the county signed up, all 65,000 people that live here," said Chris Eliadis, the Operation Coordinator.
To sign up, go to AlertWalton.org. Emergency Management will be conducting a test run on Wednesday of the system. They will also be signing people up for the service January 24 at the Board of County Commissioners meeting at 9 a.m. in the DeFuniak Springs Boardroom.
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