Albemarle County working to reach more people through emergency communications
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County says it is working on ways to reach more people during emergency situations.
Many people living in Greenwood say they did receive alerts to Shelter in Place Thursday afternoon, but some say there was not enough done to make the public aware of a crisis.
Michael Gallagher says he was in a meeting when he received an alert that there was an emergency.
“I was getting notifications on my phone and I was ignoring them,” Gallagher said. “I got a notification from my ring doorbell, and that one makes a difference. That’s when I saw that it was the Shelter in Place notification.”
He says he also received texts and calls from the Albemarle County Police Department, and he noted that this is because he signed up for Code Red alerts, which you can do here.
Abbey Stumpf works with Albemarle County, and she says the Red Alerts are geo-targeted and are used for all types of emergencies in the county.
“When you register, you can decide what is the best way to get information for yourself. Whether you want a text message, or do you want a phone call. You can make all those determinations,” Stumpf said. “Those alerts go to text messages, emails, and landlines, and phone calls.”
Most types of alerts do rely on different devices.
“[The system] assumes that people have access to that technology, but not everybody does. Not everyone’s on Twitter. Nextdoor might not see it,” Gallagher said.
Not everyone says they were made aware of the crisis.
“What I usually say when somebody says, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about something,’ I say, ‘Great. Let me know what channels you get your information from,’ because we’re always looking for new ways to connect people, connect with people and get information to them,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf says that regionally, counties are working to have more cohesive emergency messaging.
“We’re all looking on how we can best develop that clear and concise language, regardless what emergency we’re facing,” she said.
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