Questions answered by Lamar Paris, County Commissioner
Q. I heard that Union County has a new Emergency Notification System. Can you tell us about it?
A. The system is called UNION ALERT and it is designed to instantly reach cell phones (voice or text), landline numbers, email addresses, pagers and desktop alerts when an urgent county alert needs to be communicated. In the event of an emergency, a text message, voice call, or email will be sent to the contact information you register with the system.
Q. How do I register for this alert system?
A. Anyone can register from a cell phone by texting UCALERT to 69310. You must remove all signatures and other text in the body of the message. (For folks new to texting, set your phone to text messages. When it asks for “To” you enter 69310. When it asks “Enter your message here” type in UCALERT). You will receive a confirmation text message letting you know you have been signed up to receive Union Alert. Union Alert will originate from the following: Voice Calls: 706-555-0911, text messages: 69310, Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org. While not necessary, the originating phone numbers should be saved in your phone book as “UC Alert” to be sure you know when the county is trying to make contact.
Q. I don’t have a cell phone so how do I sign up?
A. You can mail your info to E911 Mapping (76 Hunt-Martin Street, Suite D) or call 706-439-6056. If you mail, include your name, address and phone number and indicate what alerts you would like to receive. A recorded voice will deliver the message to your home telephone.
Q. I don’t use text messages. How else can I receive Union Alert?
A. You can receive alerts on any landline number via a recorded message, your email address or pager.
Q. What type of alerts will I receive?
A. You will only receive emergency notifications issued by Union County unless you choose to receive additional alerts. At this time, additional alerts you could choose would be weather advisories, city/county special activities, and parks & recreation notifications. Additional options will be available in the future.
Some examples of emergency notifications could be road closures due to snow/ice, hazardous material spills, tornado warnings, flooding, or forest fires. The alerts can be targeted to a particular affected area. For example, if there was a forest fire, only those areas adjacent to the fire could be sent an alert.
Q. Will I receive ads or SPAM on my phone?
A. No. Inspiron Logistics, the company behind the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS), does not tolerate spam text or email messages.
Q. Will Union County sell the information I enter to register for the Alert system?
A. Your contact information will be used only for emergency notifications. Your information will never be sold to a third party nor will it be used for anything other than the Union Alert system.
Q. Does Union Alert cost anything to use?
A. There is no cost for an individual who has registered for the alerts; however, your cell phone carrier may charge you to receive text messages, so please check your calling plan.
Q. When will this service be available to Union County citizens?
A. It is available immediately.
Q. Who is responsible for Union County acquiring this system?
A. It was a joint decision by Commissioner Paris, Charles Worden, EMA Director and Fire Chief, and E911 Director Matt Hromalik, and Shawn Seabolt, GIS Director. The E911 center will be responsible for issuing the alerts. We have been considering and looking at different systems for several years, but the cost has now made it justifiable.
Q. Once we have signed up for the emergency alert system, can we then be removed from the list?
A. Absolutely. You can either call 706-439-6056 or if you want to stop text messages, you can simply enter the number "69310" and text "STOP" and you will be automatically removed.