Sequoyah County Commissioners addressed several items on their agenda Monday and listened to a request from Sequoyah County 911 Director David Slaughter about an alert system he said would be beneficial to the county.
Slaughter spoke about the alert system during Citizen‚s Presentation of the commissioners‚ meeting in which no action is taken.
According to Slaughter, the current method of sending out alerts for storms, fires, accidents and other emergency information is usually just a call to the fire departments, Emergency Medical Services and law enforcement. An alert system would not only notify emergency crews about the incident requiring assistance but also residents who may need to take precaution.
Slaughter‚s proposal is to provide an alert system from Rave Panic Button Emergency Communication Solutions at a yearly rate of $8,400. The company is currently under contract with the state to provide panic buttons at all schools in Oklahoma, according to Slaughter.
“There are other companies that offer the same service but the cost is more,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter said the alert system would help alleviate some of the problems residents have had in the past such as accidents resulting in traffic detours or long-awaited times, grass fires which can result in heavy smoke on the roadway making it difficult for motorists to see, oncoming tornadoes or other extreme weather conditions which can send a message out for people to take precautions before sirens are sounded to name a few.
“This would not only help residents but people who may be on their way to work or get to an emergency and be able to take a different route if they know ahead of time what‚s in their path,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter said residents have the option to receive the notification by text, email or phone calls.
Another feature provided by the system is alerts can be sent to a targeted group such as a school and neighbors in the vicinity.
“If I want to target the messages to a certain group such as Central School, I can create a Geo Fence which is a circled area of where messages can be delivered,” Slaughter said.
“I believe Sequoyah County residents deserve this. We need to give something back to Sequoyah County and this is something that can benefit all citizens regardless. We have a lot of accidents on I-40 and traffic has to be detoured at times. If a person has an appointment or needs to get to work or has to be somewhere on time, the system would send them an alert and possibly give them enough time to take a different route,” he said.
District 3 Commissioner Jim Rogers said an alert system would be good for the county and the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) monies could be used for the purchase. The county was approved for $8 million in ARPA funds last year. Since the amount is under $10 million, Rogers said the federal government has allowed monies amounting to less than $10 million can be placed into the county‚s general fund account and can be applied for just about anything the county may need. An alert system is something that the county can use, he said.
“I‚m for anything that‚s going to provide safety and security for our county employees and our constituents. From the sounds of it, the governor may make it mandatory for all counties to have an alert system,” Rogers said.
In other business, the commissioners approved an agreement, contingent on the DA‚s approval, between the Sequoyah County Sheriff‚s Department and the following schools: Brushy, Liberty, Moffett, Central High and Gans, an annual agreement which provides School Resource Officers for those districts.
They also approved a letter of support for a grant application for State Highway 100 over the Arkansas River submitted by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Approved also was a contract to pay for county employees certified driver‚s license testing expenses.