NEWARK - Licking County residents will no longer be inundated with weather warnings like they were Wednesday, according to Sean Grady, director of Licking County Emergency Management Agency and the Regional 911 Center.
Grady announced on Monday a change to the Rave Mass Notification System, which started here March 6. The new policy will be to automatically send out National Weather Service notifications only for tornado warnings.
"Only landlines and subscribed cell phones will get calls from these warnings if they happen to be inside the NWS warning box," Grady stated in an email. "We decided to limit the amount and type of warnings being sent based on some feedback from residents who experienced the multiple calls during the storm last Wednesday night."
The National Weather Service sent out severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings lasting one hour or less, Grady said. Once the warnings expired, they were repeated, and Rave recipients received new warnings.
"We decided to limit this because I do not want people becoming desensitized to them," Grady said. " Other warnings that are sent out by NWS will be vetted by our office before being sent out to the public to make sure that there is a significant risk involved."
Grady or his deputy, John Wieber, will determine when to send notifications covering a wide range of other possible events, such as floods, flash floods, extreme heat, blizzards, extreme cold, severe thunderstorms, hail and earthquakes.
Residents who signed up to receive Rave emergency alerts can choose how they want to be notified of a warning, such as by text, email, cellphone or landline.
People who sign up for Rave can provide information for emergency responders to use if coming to their aid. They can choose what information to provide, such as listing family members, photos, medical conditions, disabilities, mobility limitations, other special needs, medical equipment requiring electricity, exact addresses, or pets.
To sign up for the notifications, go to lcounty.com and click on Emergency/Disaster Mobile Alert Sign Up or go to smart911.com.