The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 10, 2008, approved a contract for a new, countywide emergency notification system (ENS). The system will be used by multiple jurisdictions within the county to quickly broadcast messages to targeted areas.
The entities that will participate are:
- Placer County Office of Education;
- City of Auburn;
- City of Lincoln;
- City of Rocklin;
- City of Roseville; and
- Placer County.
After extensive research and discussion, the ENS working group is recommending Wide Area Rapid Notification (WARN) be the county’s next system. The working group evaluated 14 different systems before deciding on WARN. Placer County has used Teleminder as its ENS since 2002. However, this system uses outdated technology and is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
WARN represents a significant increase in emergency notification efficiency and capability. It is internet based, as are most existing ENS, and call center supported. Whereas Teleminder is capable of making 2,040, 30-second messages an hour using 17 leased telephone lines, WARN can make up to 30,000, 30-second calls per hour, depending on local telephone company capabilities.
“The advancements in technology have effectively made our current emergency notification system obsolete,” said Rui Cunha, Placer County Office of Emergency Services Program Manager. “It is our responsibility to keep the residents of Placer County informed about emergency activities and this system will allow us to do that much faster and thoroughly.”
In addition to emergency notification, WARN has a bulletin board feature that can provide public service announcements for such things as weather warnings, media updates and Neighborhood Watch alerts. It has redundancies and can be accessed and operated by multiple jurisdictions from different locations. The current system requires a stand alone work stations, which are operated by the Placer County Sheriffs Office dispatch centers in Auburn and Lake Tahoe.
The WARN system will be used by Placer County agencies, cities, emergency services and the Placer County Office of Education.
The county expects to have the WARN system functional by the beginning of July. Until then, the current ENS, Teleminder, will remain operational. Once the WARN system is functioning, Teleminder will be phased out. WARN also has additional capabilities that will be brought online in the coming months.
The initial first year cost of the system is $136,900, which will be funded through the Placer County Homeland Security Grant Program. The yearly cost for the second and third years is $35,800, which will be proportionally shared by all participating agencies.