NotifyJoCo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Contacts

Sean Reilly, City of Overland Park Communications Manager, 913.895.6109, sean.reilly@opkansas.org

Rick Howell, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, 913.791.5802, richard.howell@jocogov.org.

Ellen Wernecke, Deputy Director, Johnson County EOC, 913.826.1004, EWernicke@jocogov.org

Mass Notification System Combines Efforts To Reach Residents during Emergencies

JOHNSON COUNTY, KAN. (Feb. 25, 2013) – Those who live or work in Johnson County can now sign up to receive important information about locations they care about through NotifyJoCo, a free public notification system which will communicate emergency information through phone, text and email messages to members of the community.

Using contact information provided by users, NotifyJoCo allows local governments and utilities to notify the public about issues affecting locations they identify.  Emergency notifications will be sent in cases needing an immediate response, such as tornado warnings, evacuation notices and public health alerts.

"We are collaborating to implement a shared mass notification system that will provide quick and reliable emergency notifications to our citizens and businesses.   We want to ensure our residents are informed before, during and after significant events, such as these major snow storms we are experiencing, and that we do our part to protect the lives and property of our communities," said Ellen Wernicke, Deputy Director, Johnson County Emergency Communications Center.

To use the system, residents should go to www.NotifyJoCo.org to register their personal contact preferences. They will be asked to provide their contact information. Users can then identify multiple locations they care about (home, work, or their child’s school, for example), and choose which messages they would like to receive. Residents who do not have internet access may call 913.826.5555 to register their information. All information provided will be kept confidential and only used to contact citizens about emergencies and topics in which they have expressed interest.

When there is an event requiring a message to be sent, authorized county and city officials will identify the affected areas and send out the message through NotifyJoCo via phone, e-mail or text message. The system has the ability to send out a minimum of 100,000 notifications per hour, allowing NotifyJoCo to reach citizens immediately in emergency situations.

A test of the system will take place on Tuesday, March 5, during Severe Weather Alert Week, and messages will be sent to those who have signed up.

In the near future, participating agencies have the option to add the capacity for community-based notifications such as pool closures, road construction or meeting notices, which will allow citizens to receive information about the topics they care about in their community.

The system, which is free to the public, is an unprecedented effort between Johnson County, Water One, and the cities of Lenexa, Mission Hills, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Shawnee. The entities are working with Everbridge, Inc., a leading firm in emergency and incident alert systems, to implement NotifyJoCo.

Information will be available through County and participating municipal offices and online at www.NotifyJoCo.org . Look for Miles the Martian (mascot for NotifyJoCo).