On Wednesday, May 18, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Roanoke County’s Emergency Communications Center will test the RoCo Alert emergency notification system. Each year, the county tests the system to ensure the procedures, processes and staff training are up to date. To help eliminate some of the confusion that may occur when the system is tested, local media is being notified in advance about the upcoming test to help inform residents.
RoCo Alert works like a “reverse 9-1-1” and allows the county to call every household telephone number in the 9-1-1 Center database in the event of an emergency. RoCo Alert can also be used to call households in a specific area using addresses and GIS mapping technology, depending on public safety needs.
RoCo Alert allows residents to sign up optional cell phone numbers, email addresses and add additional county addresses to their notifications. For example, residents might want to add their spouse’s work place, a child’s school, or an elderly parent’s home address. If a RoCo Alert emergency notice is issued for these areas, resident’s cell phones and email addresses would be used to notify them, whenever and wherever they may be.
The RoCo Alert system is activated by the county’s public safety agencies, including Police, Fire and Rescue, or the Sheriff’s Office and are issued to warn of imminent threats to lives or property. Examples of alerts may include warnings about local flooding, wildfire notices, severe weather alerts, evacuation notices, or other public safety warnings.
If residents haven’t signed up their cell phones for optional RoCo Alerts, they are encouraged to take a few minutes and sign up today through the RoCo Alert page on the county’s website at www.roanokecountyva.gov/rocoalert.