Rave Alert System rolling out to U.P.

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Public safety departments in all 15 counties of the U.P. are rolling out a new emergency notification system.

The "Rave Alert" system, which is already used in 48 states, can be used individually by each participating U.P. department, to send targeted text message alerts.

It is non-mandatory, and people must opt-in to get alerts, but similar to the amber alert system, it is designed to get important information out quickly to those affected.

"The U.P. Homeland Security Region 8 board has basically said we have to somehow alert our citizens to any type of emergency or important information that we have to get out," Gogebic County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Loeper said.

Rave Mobile Safety, out of Boston, built the system so push text notifications can be sent to a specific audience, rather than an entire county or state.

"For example, Mackinac County for the bridge walk," Rave Mobile Safety customer success manager Kevin Hatline said. "They did some alerts for parking, for weather on the bridge, for start and stop times, so you're actually able to opt into this service so you can get those alerts for specific events."

The application also has the ability to find who could be impacted by an event.

"It can actually be used for on a map so if I live in one specific place in Marquette that is flooding, they're actually able to draw some lines around that area, and only alert those citizens in that area, there's flooding and they need to evacuate," Hatline said.

Any department hooked up to the system can send out an alert specific to their area, which can decrease the amount of time required to alert a population.

According to officials, the system will not cost tax-payers any more money.

"We get grants every year from feds and what we do is do projects and the Homeland Security Board for the U.P. decided that this was an important product for all our citizens," Loeper said.

In the future, they hope to implement other systems like "Smart 911," and panic buttons for schools and government buildings, which would give employees the ability to send immediate alerts to just their building.

To sign up for the Rave Alert text notifications, sign up at https://smart911.com/

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