NY Alert Comes To Broome County

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 8, 2008 at 6:38 PM EDT

Broome County is one of the first in the state to use the NY Alert System.

It can inform you about emergency situations, and tell you what to do.

Howard Bieber and his family were evacuated from their Conklin home during the June 2006 flood.

"We had very limited contact. 9 o'clock, the fire department came through and said we're all safe, everything's fine. 11 o'clock, we're going out of here on boats," says Bieber.

Steven Starzer says it was a neighbor who alerted him to the flood.

"If he hadn't come around and helped us all out, we might have been stranded in our homes or lost more property than we did," says Starzer.

Broome County wants to make sure that does not happen again.

It announced a new system called NY Alert is on line.

It will notify you if there is any kind of emergency like severe weather, a flu pandemic, even a police stand off in your area.

"We are applying technology to improve safety in our county. We want to make the public aware of this tool and what it means to them," says Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala.

NY Alert is a reverse 911 system that would contact your home phone, cell phone, email, fax and send a text.

"On my cell, I would get the text message, it would ring with a recorded voice message and I would get an email all simultaneously," says John Gibby of NYS Emergency Management Office.

Broome County has already used the system once, during a snow storm in December.

Here's part of a message sent to Broome Community College students.

"Broome Community College will close at 3:00 pm, today, December 13 07."

Since September, more than 13 thousand people in Broome County have signed up for the service.

Emergency Services hopes to have all cell phone, home phone and fax numbers in the system as soon as possible.

If you are interested in getting alerts on emergency situations, sign up at www.nyalert.gov.

Click on the sign up for NY Alerts link and follow the directions on the screen.

The service is free of charge.

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