The Starke County EMA Department is hoping to disseminate information more quickly, but it may take some public participation.
Emergency management officials are using an online platform called NIXLE. The service – which can be accessed online – allows users to subscribe their phone and e-mail. In exchange, emergency weather information, flooding, road closures, and other events are sent via text or e-mail directly to the user.
Starke County EMA Director Jacob Lippner says this is another tool in the box.
“So if you happen to be on your computer, or have your phone in your pocket, it will send straight to you, and that makes our job a lot easier,” says Lippner. “We can get the message out a whole lot faster.”
Right now, Starke County has about 1-thousand residents signed-up for the service. That compares to the 23-thousand residents occupying the county full-time.
Lippner says that increasing that number will allow them to reach a broader segment of the community, but also provide faster and more detailed information in the case of an emergency. Some residents are unable to hear sirens in the case of a tornado in Starke County.
Ideally, Lippner says every resident would buy into the service, but says increasing NIXLE’s usage to five times the current number of subscriptions would be a considerable help.
“If we can get our enrollment numbers up, it will definitely benefit everybody,” says Lippner. “It’s just a faster way for me to get information to everybody.”
Residents can learn more by accessing the website at www.NIXLE.com. By providing a zip code, the user will automatically be linked with departments in the local area for subscription.
Lippner says he also posts information on social media about accessing the service.