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New 911 system also alerts cell users

August 30, 2011 at 6:04 PM

By-RICHARD DEVAYNE / NewsChannel 36 Staff rdevayne@wcnc.com

LINCOLNTON, N.C. -- For senior citizen Rain Hardt, if there is an emergency the county needs to alert him about, it can use a method its had for years, the reverse 911 system.

Hardt said that’s good enough for him because he is not used to all the new technology like cells phones.

“It’s hard to get used to the new fangled stuff, and you forget a lot of stuff. You always go back to the old phone,” Hardt said.

In Lincoln County, people like Hardt are in good shape when the county has to alert them of dangerous situations like storms, tornadoes, or mass evacuations. But for others in the county, there has not been a way to communicate with them in a timely fashion until recently.

The county, like the rest of the country, has a growing population of residents who only use cell phones as their primary source of communication. While they are on the cutting edge, they may have been missing out when the county needed to contact them with life saving information.

That is until Lincoln County unveiled its two new 911 Reverse alert systems, LincAlert and LincInfo. LincAlert warns residents of dangerous situations like severe weather or evacuation. LincInfo tells the public about important events in Lincoln County.

The two systems allow the county the ability to notify all residents within moments of an emergency situation. The system, which is internet based, also can notify people by cell or email.

The key component of the system is getting residents to know that it exists and that it’s free and can help them in a time of emergency.

“It’s very, very important for people to do this if they want to keep informed,” said Coral Saunders, the coordinator of Lincoln Communications 911 Center.

“We’ve seen our opt-ins climbing every day, but I’m not sure how many people out there realize they can just put in their names and cell numbers or emails into the system and be set up.” .