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Blog // Connect Nevada

Washoe’s Reverse 911 Boosts Public Safety

By Jeremy Thacker

Residents of Washoe County are on 911’s speed dial!

It’s a program called Reverse 911 and it’s designed to alert Washoe County residents in case of an emergency that threatens public safety.

“With our system, first responders can relay a citizen warning, back to dispatch,” says Aaron Kenneston from the Washoe County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “The dispatcher then highlights the locations on an interactive map and decides whether to use voice, text, e-mail, or a combination. The alert is typed or recorded and then sent through automatic rapid dialers at a rate of more than 50,000 telephone calls an hour.  Text and e-mails go out almost instantaneously.”

All safety alerts are sent out through an off-site system so 911’s phone lines are never tied up in the process.

“We do not want citizen to receive a busy signal when they dial 911 because we are issuing an alert,” says Kenneston.

Washoe’s Reverse 911 system covers the entire county of 427,000 households with more than 160,000 telephone numbers.

Since more and more people are canceling landline and using only mobile phones, the web page is also active where county residents can register their wireless devices.

“Everyone who registers lists their home address so that every telephone number is geo-coded to a specific location,” says Kenneston. “With this technology, our citizens enjoy a greater peace of mind knowing that we can reach them in a disaster.”

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Tags:  Safety   Washoe  


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