Webster brings its emergency alert system into the digital age

Webster Parish activating rapid alert system for emergencies

Time is of the essence in an emergency situation. That makes communicating potentially life-saving information to the public much more important.

In a couple months, Webster Parish will roll out the emergency alert system Nixle.

"In an emergency situation, information is changing very quickly," said Jenny Reynolds, director of Webster's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. "A system like Nixle brings that capability into the more modern age of technology."

Nixle will allow Webster emergency officials to instantly text, call or email residents who sign up to receive the alerts.

It's a tool that could prove to be invaluable in a fluid, emergency situation, Reynolds said.

"We can deliver that changing information very quickly."

So far, about 400 people in the parish have registered to receive Nixle alerts.

Reynolds hopes thousands more will follow suit.

"My goal now is to keep pushing the information out there and making sure people know what it is and keep encouraging them to enroll."

Jodie Martin, who owns the Minden restaurant Geaux Fresh, thinks the system will help digitally savvy people receive vital information.

"You can never have too much communication. You have a generation where they operate by text more than anything else," Martin said. "They need those text messages because that is how they [younger people] work."

John Collins, owner of Western Auto Associates, said he doesn't know if the new system is really necessary for a parish such as Webster. "We don't have rivers that are going to flood us. We don't have hurricanes that could reach this far north."

KSLA News 12 reached out to other Northwest Louisiana parishes to find out which have an alert system similar to Webster.

DeSoto also uses Nixle.

Bossier and Caddo use the Code Red system.

To sign up for Nixle, text "WEBSTERINFO" TO 888777.

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