A 'more robust' Bay Alerts emergency system goes back online across Bay County
October 16, 2015
Bay County's emergency alerts management system is back online after a three month hiatus. Shown is a Bay Alerts text message on an Apple Watch.
BAY CITY, MI — Following a three-month hiatus, Bay Alerts are once again buzzing smartphones and filling email inboxes across the county with emergency notifications.
Shortly after noon on Friday, Oct. 16, an alert was sent out to subscribers, asking them to go online and register for the new system.
In July, Bay County emergency officials ditched their former system by Inspiron Logistics, pointing to unreliable technology from the vendor that delayed alerts to some subscribers.
They opted to contract with RAVE Mobile Safety, a Massachusetts-based company that offers emergency alert services. The county signed a one-year agreement for the service for $19,900. That contract included a three-year price lock.
Ryan Manz, the county's emergency management coordinator, said the new system gives residents more options when it comes to the type of alerts they want to receive via text message, email or voice message.
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to fully register for the service. After creating a profile, users can customize a number of alerts, including traffic alerts and road closures, emergencies on the Saginaw River and Bay Metro Transportation alerts.
Golfers can even sign up for Bay County Golf Course notifications, which could be used to invite players to public outings, Manz said.
For residents without email or smartphones, the new Bay Alerts system can contact county landlines, Manz said. If no one picks up, the new system is capable of leaving a recorded message on an answering machine.
"This is a significantly more robust system that gives users the alerts they want," Manz said.
With exception to the message alerting residents the system is live again at noon, no other alerts were sent out to subscribers, Manz said.