Grants Pass Alert Network

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The new system, ‘Grant Pass Alert Network’ allows emergency personel to send instant messages to enrolled residents informing them of any public safety concerns.

Those messages can be sent to your cell phone or email account.

The system has only been up a week and dozens have already enrolled.

It’s an easy online sign up process for what officials said is a crucial communication tool.

As Josephine County faced budget cuts the sheriffs office downsized to a handful of deputies on the road.

Skyler Dunivin said with fewer patrols, information is key.

“I don’t think it’s that scary really. I think the community just needs to be more aware of whats going on,” said Grants Pass resident, Skyler Dunivin.

Fire rescue officials said in an emergency situation it can sometimes take hours or days for information to reach the general audience.

“The idea is to shorten that window a bit to where we are sending out that alert directly to the citizen,” said Grants Pass Fire Rescue Deputy Chief, Lang Johnson.

This is where the Grants Pass Alert Network comes in.

A system that will send messages to those enrolled about serious event like a missing person report or a crime in progess. But the list is not limited to severe offenses.

“Traffic control issues, street closures, really our usage of the program is really just limited to our imagination,” said Johnson.

Signing up for the system can be done through the grants pass fire rescue website.

Under the tab ‘I want to’, click sign up for safety alerts.

The server will then take you to citizenobserver.com.  The same website officials will use to get timely information to you.

“When we have enough information gathered we can actually send these messages from the field by using our own smart phones,” said Johnson.

Dunivin said the new system will help parents do their own policing.

“You could text your kids and tell them hay don’t go over this way or watch out over here. I think it’s a great sense of comfort,” said Dunivin.

Jackson County has a similar system, officials say 2,000 Ashland residents are signed up for that alert.

Officials said the programs success is its strength in numbers.

“The more citizens that are signed up the more effective it’s going to be as a tool to share the information when things happen,” said Johnson.

Fire rescue official said the product that they are using has a lot of different features, right now they are only using the alert system.

But in the future they hope to incorporate a facebook and twitter alert to increase information accesbility.