8:31:47 PM Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Ottawa County to buy telephone alert system
Wednesday, October 17, 2001

'Reverse 911' would notify county residents
of emergencies.




The Community Alert Network Inc., which notifies residents of emergencies in the community, is being purchased by Ottawa County.

Brush Wellman, 14710 W. Portage River South Road, will help the county pay to purchase the system.

"We really believed in the system and think it will add tremendous value to our community and will prove more valuable now that we are faced with the crazy unpredictability of people trying to destroy us as a nation," Davis-Besse spokesman David Cahill said Tuesday.

The Elmore beryllium manufacturing company has pledged to pay 1/12 of the monthly cost for the system, up to $1,300 a year, Cahill said. The system will cost about $25,000 initially, with an annual maintenance fee, county commissioners said.

Emergency Management Director James P. Greer said the community alert system should be in place by Jan. 1, 2002.

With the system, local authorities will call and record a message on CAN's Albany, N.Y., alerting system, which details a potential local emergency and how people should respond.

Emergencies can range from a lost child and boil-water notices to emergency road-closing notices and hazardous material spills.

The system would then dial the county phone numbers in the area affected by the emergency and the local officials' voice message would be played to the person answering the phone.

The system can send out more than 250 calls per minute -- more than 15,000 calls per hour -- and the messages can be recorded and translated in more than 140 languages.