Municipalities joining county in partnership with state for new system
To help residents stay informed about emergency situations and other topics, Sarasota County staff has launched a mass-notification system called Alert Sarasota County, the county has announced.
Hosted by Everbridge, the alert system is one facet of a partnership involving the State of Florida, the Cities of Sarasota, Venice and North Port and the Town of Longboat Key, a county news release explains.
Alert Sarasota County, which replaces the CodeRED notification system, will be used to communicate public health and safety topics affecting Sarasota County, the release adds. Available alerts include those related to severe weather, sewage spills, mosquito management and boil water notices, the release points out.
“Coming together for this important collaboration with our local municipalities allows us to bring our community vital information about their safety in a timely manner,” said Sarasota County Emergency Services Director Rich Collins in the release.
A user can choose the types of alerts and how to receive them when registering a new account, the release explains. These options may be changed at any time, it adds. Users also can sign up to receive a message when new types of alerts are available, the release notes.
County and municipality alerts can differ, it points out.
“Alert Sarasota County can send alerts to users via landline phone, cell phone, text message, email, TDD/TTY, smartphone app push notification, or a combination of these methods,” the release explains.
A user can sign up for alerts by registering with his or her home address, the release says.
To start receiving alerts, sign up in the following ways:
- Download the free Everbridge mobile app. “In the app, select ‘find organization or subscription,’ type your jurisdiction in [on] the search bar and log in or register a new account,” the release points out.
- Create an account at alertsarasotacounty.com.
The app also will allow for alerts from surrounding cities and the county without the user having to sign up for additional alerts, the release notes.
When signing up through alertsarasotacounty.com, a user can enter his or her home address on the jurisdiction map to determine which jurisdiction’s alerts to receive.
Jurisdictions that are part of Alert Sarasota County follow:
- Alert Sarasota County — Sarasota County Government.
- Alert Sarasota County — City of Sarasota.
- Alert Sarasota County — City of North Port.
- Alert Sarasota County — City of Venice (The municipality is transitioning to the new notification system, the release points out.)
- Alert Sarasota County — Town of Longboat Key (Alert Longboat Key).
The contact information for those who previously signed up for CodeRED or COVID-19 text alerts may not transfer, the release emphasizes. As a result some persons may need to sign up for a new Alert Sarasota County account. Sarasota County’s contract with CodeRED ends in July, the release adds.
“This technology will not only serve to notify our community of emergencies, it will also allow us to reallocate taxpayer dollars to another priority, rather than paying for a notification system,” said Emergency Services Director Collins in the release.
The use of this mass-notification system — provided through the host company, Everbridge — comes at no cost to Sarasota County or participating municipalities, the release notes.
The State of Florida holds a contract with Everbridge, the release continues. Therefore, the entire cost of the five-year, $3.5-million contract is borne by the state’s Alert Florida program, the release explains. The state’s contract with Everbridge expires on July 30, 2024.
“We’re very excited to team up with Sarasota County and our other municipal partners to launch this powerful reporting tool. Our residents will be informed like never before,” said City of North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor in the release.
“We’re looking forward to the Everbridge system providing valuable, timely information for our citizens on a variety of critical issues via phone, text message and email,” added Venice Deputy Fire Chief Frank Giddens, emergency manager for the City of Venice, in the release.
“In today’s world, it’s essential that we all take steps to improve our situational awareness and be prepared in case of emergency,” said City of Sarasota Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering. “Signing up for Alert Sarasota County is the best way for our residents to stay updated and informed about what’s happening in their community and ensure they’ll receive the critical information they need to know.”
“The most important thing we do is public safety, and timely emergency messaging is a critical component of keeping residents safe,” said Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer in the release. “We appreciate the regional coordination to launch this robust emergency notification system,” Harmer added. Given the fact that Longboat Key is a coastal barrier island, he continued, “This is a critical tool in our emergency management toolbox. We urge our residents to register for Alert Longboat Key to ensure direct delivery of timely emergency information,”
For more information, go to alertsarasotacounty.com or call the county Contact Center at 861-5000 and ask about Alert Sarasota County registration.