Alamance County wants more people to sign up for emergency alerts

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Alamance County Emergency Management Coordinator Debbie Hatfield is making sure the county's employee list is current for Wednesday's statewide tornado drill.

"If we had a real tornado or real event, they will know where to go, where to shelter in place and what their role is as the lead in their area and get to a safe place," Hatfield said.

Hatfield will signal the beginning of the tornado drill by sending county employees an ACE alert to their phones.

"Everybody has a cellphone now. You can get a text message. You can get an email. We can do a voicemail on the phone,” Hatfield said.

ACE stands for Alamance County Emergency. During this week's Severe Weather Preparedness Week, officials are hoping the public will sign up their cellphones, landlines or email addresses. Folks can receive emergency messages ranging from weather warnings, hazardous events and missing persons.

Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Matt Kemnitz says the alerts are timely and targeted.

"We can target it to a geometric area, blocks, radius and hit the phone numbers registered within that area,” Kemnitz said.

More than 66,000 people have signed up for ACE alerts. But that's less than half the population of Alamance County. Kemnitz says Emergency Management is working to persuade more people to sign up with ACE alerts.

"We are not sending out stuff on a regular basis. It’s not used willy nilly. We are only sending things out for actual events that have a life-safety complication,” Kemnitz said.

To sign up with ACE alerts, click here. Or you can text ALAMANCE to 888777.