Putnam County 911 Enhances Community-Based Communication


Image: Cookeville-Putnam County Emergency Management Agency Director Tyler Smith and Putnam County 911 Director Randy Porter evaluate a reverse 911 calling box on the new Hyper-Reach system.

Putnam County’s Enhanced 911 Service becomes even more enhanced by new reverse-dial technology.


COOKEVILLE, TN – With emergency communication on the minds of almost everyone recently, emergency services have been continuously looking for ways to better communicate with citizens.


                “During times of emergency, people are looking for places to get information. We want to put that information right in their hands so they don’t have to look,” stated 911 Director Randy Porter. “So many times the wrong information is given by someone and nobody knows what to believe. We want to use every possible method to get the right information out first.”


                The newest system, funded by the Putnam County 911 Board, is called Hyper-Reach. It is what is commonly referred to as a reverse-dial system. This means that emergency managers can initiate a message and the system will dial thousands of telephone lines in just a matter of minutes. The system is capable of dialing every landline telephone in Putnam County.


                Porter continued, “We have had this capability for some time now, but this new system is much faster to create messages and calls more telephones in a shorter period of time. It has been amazing how fast this system is. The previous system could only make 48 calls at a time. The new system can make around 250 at a time.”


                Hyper-Reach is a web-based application developed by The Asher Group in Rochester, NY. The system not only serves as a means of communication with the public, but also enhances communication among emergency services.


                “This system helps us communicate with every emergency department, and if needed every emergency responder in our community in just a few minutes,” states Emergency Management Agency Director Tyler Smith. “If we have a major incident that we need everyone called in to help, we can initiate a message on this system and notify every emergency responder within minutes. It could easily take over an hour to make each of those calls individually.”


                A function of the new system that has been put to the test recently is the capability of the system to auto-dial homes and businesses that are in an area where a tornado warning has been issued. During the recent tornado event that affected areas of Jackson, Putnam, and Overton counties, the system made contact with 10,684 telephones throughout the course of the day’s multiple tornado warnings.


                “This is really nice in that the system automatically calls the areas where the National Weather Service issues tornado warnings. It starts at the closest point to the storm and calls outward to give the most advanced warning possible. We don’t want people to rely solely on that phone call, and we certainly don’t want anyone leaving their safe place to answer the call. We still want everyone to have a weather radio and pay close attention to television and radio. We use several sources of information and we want people at home to do the same,” explained Smith.


                The system is loaded with landline telephones, but another function allows citizens to register cell phones as well. “We are excited about the potential for citizens to register their cell phones. Since many people live with their cell phones close-by all the time, this just makes sense,” states Smith.


                To register a cell phone, simply Click Here to be directed to the registration page.


                You can also learn more about Putnam County’s Emergency Alert System by visiting the Putnam County 911 website and clicking on the E-Alert tab.


                “Our 911 board is very progressive in looking at ways to get information out when emergencies occur. This Hyper-Reach system is the most up-to-date technology available,” explained Porter.


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