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Grand Island Fire Co.: Reverse-911 system explained

Fri, May 27th 2016 10:45 am

The Grand Island Fire Co. reports Monday, May 23, the Erie County Sheriff's Office with assistance of the Niagara Falls Police Department were actively perusing a possibly armed suspect involved in a violent crime.

The subject drove off the roadway in the area of Stony Point and Whitehaven roads and multiple police units immediately established a perimeter. A call from a deputy to notify residents via the Reverse-911 system to "shelter in place" was made.

According to the GIFC, within minutes the subject was subdued and the shelter in place was lifted even before it could be processed through the county system. This information was all transmitted over the ECSO radio frequency.

The Grand Island Fire Co. took no part in operations of this event and has no part in the reverse 911 program, as the company works with Erie County Emergency Management and ECSO.

Moriah C. Knowl, communications supervisor for the GIFC, said the following about the Reverse-911:

•Everyone is in the database. This includes hard line and cell phone numbers, and there is no need to sign up.

•A computer system establishes the affected perimeter based on event type and location. Only residents within that perimeter will receive the alert.

•It is a county-based system not in connection to the Grand Island Fire Co.

There is a state program called NYAlert (www.nyalert.gov) that is in addition to the above listed program and is optional. Residents may create an account and sign up to receive phone calls or text messages regarding events in their area. This program also includes weather reports, traffic issues, or other pertinent events that may not be regularly included in a reverse-911 situation.

"As always, if you would like to update the fire company of any pertinent changes within your residence or business, you may contact us at 773-4334 (non-emergency line) 24/7. Examples include: a change in emergency contact information, updated phone numbers, any fire hazards in home, Knox-Box locations or keypad codes. We also send out a mailing card annually to update this same information," said Knowl.

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