From earthquakes to floods to tornadoes, Durant has definitely seen its share of severe weather this year.
The city has implemented a tool to keep residents alerted in cases of extreme weather. “The city council allowed us to purchase and put this system into place for city residents,” said James Dalton, director of Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management. “And it’s a pretty neat tool.”
The system, called Blackboard Connect, allows Emergency Management to reach the entire city within 15 minutes. “There are two sides to it. There is an emergency side and an administrative side,” Dalton explained. “The emergency side is for tornado warnings, train derailments, bad wrecks - anything that citizens would need to know on an emergency basis. “The other side deals with administrative items.
For example, this week with Thanksgiving, the sanitation pickup is altered.
The system will call you and tell you when you need to put your trash out. Or, when we’re doing repairs on a street, we can alert people in that area.”
Currently, the system has approximately 5,900 that it sends alerts to. Dalton said all of the land line phones and businesses are already loaded into the system, but the city is hoping to expand its area of reach.
“We’re now taking submissions for cell phones, emails and text messaging,” he said. Dalton estimates that after people begin signing up for emails, cellphones and texts, that number will increase to 8,000 or more.
Emergency Management is looking forward to using Blackboard Connect for the upcoming winter months. “It’s a pretty neat tool,” Dalton said.
To sign up for email, cell phone or text messaging alerts, please visit www.durantemergencyMGT.org or find Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management on Facebook.