Emergency 101 – The Swift911 App

Be alerted by Tioga County Emergency Services with their notification system

by Benton Best – October 12, 2016

When a disaster strikes, every second counts. Sudden emergencies such as tornadoes, flash floods, and intense wildfires can unfold so quickly that some people may not even be aware of the danger until it is too late. That is why in Pennsylvania, the Tioga County Commissioners have purchased a new mass notification software program known as Swift911.

Swift911 allows emergency personnel to send critical information to the citizens and visitors of Tioga County, Pennsylvania before, during, and after large-scale emergencies. Additionally, you can sign up for day-to-day notifications such as weather alerts, road closures, and boil water alerts if you choose. It’s completely customizable.

The system only works if you sign up, so each individual user will need to go to the web portal or mobile app, create a basic profile, and then select the types of alerts you would like to receive. It’s very flexible and very secure. Your information is not released to the public and will not be used for anything other than sending emergency alert notifications.
When you sign up, you can decide if you want to receive alerts via landline telephone, wireless telephone, mobile app over Wi-Fi connection, email, text message, and even on your newsfeed via the County’s social media accounts. Or all of the above!

On a computer, you can sign up by going to our website and clicking on the blue “Swift911 Sign-Up” link at the top of the page. If you have a smartphone, you can simply go to the Google Play Store for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices and type in Swift911. Select the blue or public version and begin signing up. If you only have a landline and are unable to sign up using a computer, you can simply call the Tioga County Department of Emergency Services at 570-724-9110 and we can manually add you to the system.

Once you’ve logged into the system, click on “My Information” and a Contact Information page comes up. Then you can add a photo of yourself, which can be useful in the event of a missing person, add your language preference, so that alerts will automatically translate into your primary language. Finally, enter in the addresses for which you would like to be alerted and any associated contact information. Please be sure to put in your correct addresses as they system uses “geo-location” in order to send out alerts. Correct addresses are critical. Also, please remember this is all information that will only be used by emergency personnel, during an emergency.

If you or a loved one who lives in Tioga County have any functional needs such as the need for supplemental oxygen, the need for assistance walking, or any mental or behavioral health issues, the Swift911 program has a place for you to enter that information in. It’s all controlled by you and all securely stored, but can be used by emergency personnel in the event of a large-scale emergency.
To provide information about functional needs, simply go to your profile either through the web portal link on our website or on your mobile app. Click on “My Information” and then the “Functional Access Needs” section. This will open a drop down menu with several yes or no questions as well as a few questions with the option to write in an answer. Simply answer all of the questions to the best of your ability and click “Apply.”

Additionally, the system allows for you to enter in information about the utility providers which service your residence. This is important because it will help the County Emergency Management Agency make notifications to individuals who might be without power for a longer period of time, or might be affected by an internet outage.

In order to decide what types of alerts you would like to receive, click on “Subscriptions” to see a complete list of all the different types of alerts you can receive on a day-to-day basis if you choose. It is recommended that EVERYONE sign up for the “Countywide Alerts (Default)” subscription list, however there are many other options as well. Each of the 39 individual municipalities in Tioga County have their own list. If you work in one municipality but live in another, you may consider signing up for both in order to receive those alerts. Finally, if you have a participating local water authority, you can subscribe to alerts from them as well. Regardless of which subscription lists you sign up for, large-scale alerts regarding life threatening dangers can be sent to all users of the system.

We would like to thank the Tioga County Commissioners for their willingness to continue improving public safety in our beautiful county. With this system, there is an opportunity to alert the people who work in, residents who live in, and travelers who visit Tioga County before, during, and after an emergency, and help protect lives and property. All people need to do now is sign up!

Idea/Concept: Benton Best
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Benton Best
Anchor: Benton Best

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Susquehanna Health, Xtreme Internet

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