By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County has been known to not follow the rules when it comes to weather and seasons (or lack thereof). Our little slice of heaven has been known to experience all types of weather phenomenon from blizzards to monsoons and droughts, sometimes all in the same month. Living in such a rural location can sometimes make it difficult to get the notice out of impending conditions to aid in the preparation for some locals. Therefore, the Office of Emergency Management along with collaboration with 911 and first responders have developed a system to do just that, which they accurately named TEAMS (Tucker Emergency Alert Management System).
“An early alert system is something that I have been wanting to get here for Tucker County since I started,” stated Kevin White, OEM Director. He began his search to find a system to fit the needs of our county and that was affordable to operate for both OEM and on the receiving end. Fortunately, this system qualifies for reimbursement funding through West Virginia’s Emergency Management Performance Grant program, and anyone with text messaging services on their cell phone carrier should not be charged.
Brett Ware, 911 Director, mentioned at the previous County Commission meeting that this system can distribute approximately 800 calls per minute in the event of significant disaster events needs to be made aware of. However, in the event of imminent danger, such as a tornado on the ground, the system can be overridden and calls can be made to every land line in harm’s way.
As we all know, there are several areas that do not have or have very little cell service in our county. Fortunately, this system has been developed for either text alerts or voice calls to land lines. It is very customizable as well, with many options to choose from, to cater to your interests and needs. Once you log on to 911TEAMS.org, it will ask for basic information such as name, phone number and whether you prefer text or voice, and email. You can then choose between 19 different alerts you would like to receive, such as severe storms, potential flooding, and more. You can also dictate whether you receive these notifications at any time during the day or night they may be issued, or you can select alerts to only be received from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m. You also have the choice of selecting the areas in the county you wish to receive alerts for. You can choose Canaan Valley, Davis, Parsons, Thomas, or any combination of those. Another option box for your consideration is traffic alerts in the incident a roadway becomes impassable or detours are initiated.
The next section offers the applicant to select medical information that may apply to them, such as if you are visually impaired, have limited mobility, are on oxygen or dialysis, and many other options. This will allow the first responders to know who they may need to contact during a disaster to ensure their safety and well being.
The final requirement to sign up is to enter your street address. This information is vital to the location of specific emergencies for public safety. Once all of that information is entered, you simply click submit and you are officially signed up. Knowing not everyone has access to a computer or internet, there will be sign up assistance opportunities on August 24 at the Parsons Senior Center, and August 27 at the Senior Center in Thomas. Assistance can also be received at most county office agencies and the public libraries.