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Jones Co. residents now have more ways to be prepared for severe weather

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Residents in Jones County now have access to a new way to be prepared for severe weather.

The Jones County Emergency Operations Center recently rolled out a new mass notification system.

“The more information that we can push out to the citizens of Jones County, the better prepared they’ll be,” said Jones County EOC Executive Director Paul Sheffield. “That’s part of our job. That’s one of our biggest goals here is preparedness. Preparedness for disasters.”

We’re told the system is not a replacement for outdoor sirens in Jones County, at least not yet.

“Looking into the future, we decided it would be best to go with a notification system like this as we see the sirens, eventually, those things are going to go away,” Sheffield said.

As technology advances, EOC officials say outdoor warning systems may not be the most efficient way to alert people about severe weather.

“Because an outdoor warning siren, there’s a slight misconception there,” Sheffield said. “That thing is only designed to be heard for one mile. There’s a one-mile radius around that pole. On nice, sunny days... you can hear it farther than that. But if we activate those during severe weather, as they’re supposed to be activated, you may not be able to hear that.”

The Hyper-Reach alert system pushes out severe weather notifications via phone calls, text messages, emails and social media. However, people without cell phones can still receive alerts.

“You don’t have to have a smartphone, you don’t have to have a cell phone at all,” Sheffield said. “If you have a landline phone, we can still reach you.”

The system utilizes five methods for signing up. Users can scan a QR code, go to a website or call or text ‘ALERTS’ to (601) 438-3124. People with Alexa devices are able to tell the unit to enable the system and will receive alerts.

If you have questions about the free alert system, you can call the Jones County EOC at (601) 428-3187, or click here.

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