Rusk County commissioners are encouraging county residents to sign up for a mobile emergency alert and mass notification system to increase safety during dangerous events, including severe weather.
While severe East Texas storms over the weekend did not cause widespread damage in Rusk and Gregg counties, commissioners stressed the importance of the Rave Mobile Safety system at the first meeting of Rusk County Commissioners Court of 2020 on Monday.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price said his department has been making an effort to spread awareness about the Rave system throughout Rusk County since the county switched from their previous emergency alert and mass notification system.
“We’ve been putting out a lot (of information) since we moved from the Code Red (alert system) to Rave. We’ve been putting out a lot on it, trying to get people to go to Rave and register,” Price said.
The sheriff added Rusk County residents can visit the county’s Office of Emergency Management website, www.RuskCountyOEM.org, to register for the Rave Mobile Safety alert system, as well as the Smart 911 system, to activate a profile in the system.
“You can put your home phone, however many mobile phones, whoever you want to register it, you just register by phone number,” Price said.
According to the Rave Mobile Safety website, Rave Alert enables organizations to alert their communities instantly in the event of an emergency. Administrators can send out notifications in rapid succession from any Internet-connected device, sending thousands of messages to residents, students, faculty, employees and guests instantly.
Rave Alert has also been certified by the United States Department of Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology).
The system allows Rusk County to inform residents of severe weather and emergency situations, providing instructions and updates on how to stay safe during the event.
Rusk County made the switch to the Rave system at the end of 2019 and commissioners said many residents may not be aware of the change or how to sign up for the new system.
“People just don’t know yet,” said Pct. 1 Commissioner Bill Hale.
Guests at the meeting commented that, during storms last Friday and Saturday, they received phone calls and text messages alerting them to the severe weather.
“We’re just lucky we had as little damage as we did from that storm. It could have been catastrophic,” Hale said.
To sign up for the Rave Mobile Safety system Rusk County residents can visit www.RuskCountyOEM.org, click on the “Weather” tab and click the “Stay Informed!” button in the top left corner of the Weather page to access a registration form. There, they can enter their address, phone number and email address to receive emergency alerts. An app is also available for the system, commissioners said, but it is not necessary to register or receive alerts on mobile or landline phones.