Radio alert now active
Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) announced Thursday that ALERT FM has been successfully implemented in nine west central Alabama counties, including Marengo and Sumter.
These counties are the first in the state to begin using this new emergency notification technology. AEMA purchased this system for these counties using National Weather Service grant funding obtained for this project.
ALERT FM is an FM radio-based emergency notification system that allows county officials to send targeted messages to residents, schools, businesses, and first responders who are equipped with an ALERT FM receiver. Types of messages that might be received include weather warnings, school closings, and evacuation notices and instructions. Receivers will be available for purchase at local hardware or electronics retailers in the area for around $40.
“We are excited that ALERT FM has come to Alabama. This new technology will help these counties better notify their residents and businesses of critical information,” said Charles Williams, AEMA preparedness section chief. “We are committed to helping our counties stay better prepared.”
This system is unique compared to other notification systems because it delivers geo-targeted digital information via the Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) of local radio stations to thousands of ALERT FM receivers simultaneously. Radio stations currently participating in the ALERT FM network for the area include WALX (100.9), WSLY (104.9), WINL (98.5), WNPT (102.9), WYVC (102.3), WBFZ (105.3), WZNJ (106.5), WALN (89.3), WJEC (106.5) and WTUG (92.9).
“ALERT FM allows broadcasters across the State to strengthen their commitment to keeping their communities safe. It allows them to participate in a network that provides targeted, potentially life-saving information to first responders, businesses and citizens,” said Sharon Tinsley, president of the Alabama Broadcasters Association.
The county-wide system being used in each of the counties is fully compatible with the state-wide ALERT FM system being used in Mississippi and in other locations around the United States.
“ALERT FM provides valuable information to the residents and businesses of these nine counties no matter if they are at home or work or traveling throughout the counties,” said Jim Lowery, General Manager of Global Security Systems, LLC.