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Teton County tests reverse 911 notification system

Teton County, Wyo.,Emergency Management Coordinator Rich Ochs is pleased with the feedback if not the performance of a proposed reverse 911 emergency notification system. As part of a test of the system, an initial call was placed to over 10,300 numbers beginning at 12:30 pm Tuesday.

Almost immediately, Ochs said he began receiving e-mail messages complaining that the call was “staticy,” “garbled,” “delayed” or sounded like it was underwater.

Ochs said he wanted to evaluate how many calls the system could handle. The system was initially set to make 60,000 calls an hour, which would have notified all registered land lines in Teton County within 10 minutes. But that speed created garbled or digitalized audio.

Engineers throttled back the call rate to about 30,000 calls per hour and sent a second test message at 2:30 pm. Ochs said citizens found those calls were somewhat better, but still problematic.
“But,” he said, “that isn’t good enough for an emergency mass notification system.”

The alert system was developed by Nixle, which provides an email/texting alert system in Teton County. Company engineers are continuing to evaluate the system. Further testing is tentatively planned next week or the week of July 9. Ochs said he would like to have a mass notification system in place before the fire season gets into full gear.

Anyone with comments, questions or concerns should contact Ochs at or (307) 733-9572.

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