'Ready' in Williams
Local public awareness campaign off and running
Sherrie Collins with the Coconino County Emergency Management team visited Williams June 26 to speak with members of Williams City Council. Collins spoke about the "Ready Coconino" program, an emergency notification system designed to notify residents in northern Arizona in the event of a major catastrophe in the area, such as fire, that could cause a mass evacuation.
"Our mission for Coconino County Emergency Management is to increase public awareness of disasters, mitigate the impact of disasters and building sustainable capabilities so that we can mitigate disasters, so that we become resilient to disasters and then we have the necessary public safety emergency resources to respond to any disasters that can occur within Coconino County," Collins said. "We do that through a parternship with all of our public safety, private and government entitites in planning, training and exercises. Our vision is that Coconino County will be a disaster resilient community, where government, public safety and community members are prepared, their informed and ready. Ready Coconino will help us achieve that."
Ready Coconino, Collins said, is currently being rolled out to people in northern Arizona.
"We're really pushing people to volunteer and come out and be part of public safety to assist us with emergencies and disasters," Collins said.
The plan consists of four major steps, including a family emergency plan, the ability to leave in minutes with all necessary documents and necessities, staying informed. Collins also urged people to volunteer.
"Be part of a citizen's core, neighborhood watch group, American Red Cross group, all the great service organizations we have that are extremely active during emergencies," she said, adding that the implantation of the reverse 911 system would also allow quick notification to registered residents in northern Arizona in the event of a major disaster.
"Through a computer system we initiate a message, either voice record it or use the computer generated voice and we push out that information to all the phone numbers, so it does mass notification in a very, very quick format," Collins said. "Most of the systems can do anywhere from 400 to 700 calls a minute."
She said one of the things that emergency personnel noticed during last year's fires in sourthern California is that more and more individuals had switched from "land lines" to strictly cell phone usage.
"We're encouraging anyone that has a cell phone, even if you have a home hard line, to register your cell phone on the system," Collins said.
Sign up for the Ready Coconino system can be found online at www.readycoconino.az.gov or call 1-888-679-8393 for more information.