Members of the Forrest County Emergency Management Agency are encouraging people in Forrest County and the city limits of Hattiesburg to register with Reverse911.
The free program is an emergency warning tool that will be used to provide rapid phone notifications to people in situations when public safety is at risk.
“Reverse911 is more us providing the information to you, law enforcement, the fire department we are telling you what's going on, we are calling you to tell you what's going on in your area,” Emergency Management Director Glen Moore said.
The program is an easy way for emergency responders to notify a large amount of people, in a short amount of time.
Moore referenced a train derailment or an explosion at the gas plant near Petal.
“If something major like that happened, it’s easy for our dispatch to notify a large amount of people quickly and we are pushing the Reverse911 so much now because people used to only have landlines and it was easy to make contact,” Moore said. Now people don’t even have land lines and just use cell phones, so the only thing we can see is if you call in, and we get the closest cell tower from where you are.”
Reverse911 takes less than five minutes to fill out a few basic questions and prompts the recipient for an email address and phone number.
“Again, the service is only used in the case of emergencies or a threat to the public,” Moore said.
Emergency Management emerges on social media:
The Forrest County EMA has now entered the world of social media to help reach and interact with the public.
Recently appointed director Glen Moore has pushed the agency to have a presence on social media, in regards to twitter and Facebook.
“Everybody has a smart phone, everybody has instant access, and social media I just feel is the quickest most efficient way for us to push information out to the public,” Moore said.
Its FaceBook page can be found by searching for Forrest County Emergency Management, and also be found on twitter by searching for @ForrestEOC.
“In the event of severe weather, hurricanes, evacuations or any major emergency, this allows us to get information out to the public quickly,” Moore said.
Each day the department posts a weather forecast as well as flood stages of the local rivers.
“We encourage people to interact with us on social media, but remember we are not in operation 24 hours a day unless we are activated for severe weather or an emergency situation,” he said.