How to receive emergency notifications from South Central Alert system

How to receive emergency notifications from South Central Alert system (Photo courtesy: MGN)

A mass notification system in south central PA is helping the area's two million plus residents in times of need. But, emergency management experts say not enough people are aware of the program.

The South Central Alert system is one of the many tools responders in our area use. The system allows emergency personnel to record a message and call thousands of residents in a geographical area all at the same time to issue warnings, alerts and seek assistance.

South Central Alert and similar systems are often used for situations like boil water advisories, or information about various emergencies, like missing people.

"Anybody who has kids or grandchildren, what would you do if you lost them?" Elaine Wimer, a grandmother from New Providence, said. " If I would lose my grandson I'd be a panic, you know? And something like that helps."

The South Central Alert system covers eight counties: Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York.

"This is a way for us to quickly get information to a large portion of the population, but we can only do that if they're signed up," Duane Hagelgans, Public Information Officer for the South Central Task Force, said.

In order to receive these alerts straight to your phone, you have to sign up online.

Hagelgans says the system is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

"The problem is it only gets people who have landlines who are in the white pages or if you've signed up," Hagelgans said.

Out of the two million people in the eight counties in south central PA, only about 20,000 people are signed up, according to Hagelgans.

"If it says it's a message from Dauphin County or Lancaster County or 'local police department,' pay close attention to that because that means we need your help," Hagelgans said.

Click here to sign up for South Central Alert.

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