Cumberland County's new alert system could save lives

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Cumberland County is rolling out a new emergency-alert system for people there and in nearby counties.

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Officials say it could help raise awareness - and save lives.

For example, the dam in Aaron Lake washed away last year. Officials contend that had this alert system been active then, residents could have started evacuating sooner.

Last October, Hurricane Matthew hit Fayetteville and surrounding areas hard with torrential rains and flooding.

So, when an emergency like Hurricane Matthew happens, Cumberland Alerts sends notifications to users right away.

In fact, the system can deliver about 35,000 messages a minute.

That's important because Emergency Management officials say every second counts during a crisis.

"The life-saving part of this is seconds count, seconds matter," said Randy Beeman of Cumberland County Emergency Management. "If it's an impending tornado. If it's a residential flooding. If there's some concern or hazard in the community. Some hazmat episode. If there's some police activity in the community.

"So these are seconds that matter in saving lives," Beeman added.

The price tag on this application is about $84,000.

But the good news is, it comes at no cost to those who sign up.

To sign up for the alerts, click here.
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