In times of emergency, the sooner people can be notified of the situation and what they should do to protect themselves and others, the better. A new emergency communication tool — Northland Alert — is now available offering faster notification directly to the public.
Representatives from St. Louis County and the cities of Duluth, Hermantown, Hibbing and Virginia will hold a news conference to explain the new emergency notification system and its capabilities on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the Public Safety Building in Duluth. The event will include a demonstration in the 911 emergency communications center.
Northland Alert has two parts. The first is an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). In an emergency situation, IPAWS allows an emergency text message to be sent to all cell phones within a designated area. The text message will provide details of the emergency and instructions to people in the area of what actions to take, such as to evacuate, shelter in place, or other steps to protect themselves. This is an automatic notification service, and is sent out through the county’s 911 Emergency Communications Center. No subscription is required. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the County to use this service.
Northland Alert also includes a free subscription option for people who would like to receive alerts about other important – but not necessarily life threatening – situations. Examples include notices about weather conditions, road closures, or missing people. These alerts can be delivered by text, email or automated phone call. Anyone wishing to subscribe should visit northlandalert.com. People can choose any or all of the options for how to receive the alerts. They also can select which agencies’ alerts – St. Louis County, Duluth, Hermantown, Hibbing and/or Virginia – they wish to receive.