Early warning system may use text messages

Contra Costa County Supervisors authorized the sheriff's office today to negotiate a contract for integrating cell phone text messages into the county's Community Warning System, according to Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

The board also requested that the sheriff's office establish an integrated countywide all-hazard public alert warning system and a system for alerting all senior governmental staff and emergency response agencies in the county in the event of a large-scale disaster, according to Lee.

The Community Warning System is designed to alert residents to potential hazards associated with releases at refineries or chemical plants, large fires or other disasters through sounding sirens, placing automatic phone calls and communicating with the media. Cell phone notification will be

the next big step in making sure that people are advised of potential health hazards as quickly as possible.

The sheriff's office will be negotiating a contract with SquareLoop, Inc. of Reston Virginia for a countywide trial of location-specific cell phone notification, Lee said.

— Bay CIty News

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