up form for the emergency notification system, accessible from
Jeremy Gaston | Reporter
The months-long process of preparing and testing an emergency
notification system for Osage County is now complete and ready
The system is designed to notify residents by phone, e-mail
or SMS message whenever there is an emergency situation in their
area. To be notified, users need only to add themselves to the
“I think it’ll work quite well if people sign up,”
said Osage County Emergency Management Director Bryce Romine.
“It’s basically the same system schools have been
using, same basic ideas. We’re not forcing people to sign
up; it’s on their own. If you want the benefit, were offering
it to you.”
The opt-in system is just weeks old, gathering just over 100
sign ups, but Romine had held off debuting the system until
he was certain it was ready.
“I’ve been kind of holding off until we made sure
everything has been working right,” Romine said.
The system was unveiled with the redesign of the county’s
web site (www.osageco.org) and further publicized with flyers
distributed around the county.
“I’ve talked to the weather spotter class and the
schools in Osage City,” Romine said. “I’ve
distributed brochures to each of the cities, schools, and all
the fire districts. The sheriff’s office will also distribute
brochures as they go to county fairs and local events. They
meet a lot of people.”
The system is managed by the emergency management and sheriff’s
departments, allowing either entity to broadcast a message quickly
and publicly from any computer.
“It’s amazing, it really is,” Romine said.
“It gives us another way for any of the county entities
to notify their people, too. We go to a screen, type a message
real quick, tell who we want to send it to and send it.”
The system also allows messages to be broadcast to specific
groups, for instance, to notify volunteer firefighters of an
Public messages will be broadcast by alert levels.
• Red Alerts will be sent to all listed phone numbers,
e-mails and SMS devices, and limited to emergency notifications
(such as tornado warnings, sever weather warnings, and law enforcement
• Orange Alerts will be sent to the first and second listed
numbers, along with e-mail and SMS, and include situations such
as school lockdowns and Amber Alerts.
• Yellow Alerts will be sent to the first phone numbers,
e-mail address and SMS numbers. It will include traffic advisories
and general county information.
The alerts trickle down from Homeland Security, which supplied
a regional grant to develop the system. Osage County was included
in the Northeast Kansas region, and has been working on getting
the system in place since January.
“Once the contract was signed, all we had to do was the
legwork with the company, which involved contacting the company
and getting information set up for Osage County,” Romine
said. “They did 99 percent of the work, and provided some
After months of preparation, the system is ready to go (a test
of the system Tuesday afternoon provided a message to the number
provided in about 20 seconds). The system only needs numbers
to become more effective.
Romine encourages those who are interested to sign up (see sidebar:
“Sign up to be notified.”)
“I think we’re going to be real happy with it,”
Romine said. “I think the public should be real happy
with it, too.”
For more information on the notification system, call Romine
at the emergency Management Office between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m.
weekdays at (785) 828-3323, or the Osage County Sheriff’s
Office at (785) 828-4657.