Larry Hembree, emergency management coordinator in Cowlitz County, helped roll out the "Ready, Set, Go" alert system this week in hopes of helping get the word out about the heat wave that's hitting the Pacific Northwest right now.
“With the certainty the National Weather Service had in the prediction for this event, we felt like it was important,” said Hembree. “Especially for some of those vulnerable people to make sure that we got the word out.”
So how does this work?
Cowlitz County residents have to go to the county’s website to sign up and start filling in their information in order for the automated system to send emergency and disaster alerts.
“I believe this to be a huge difference maker,” said Hembree.
The alert system uses three main alert classifications:
- Ready means “something is coming, keep an eye out.”
- Set means “we know something is coming, you should start preparing.”
- Go means “action is required — it is happening right now.”
Hembree said the Big Hollow Fire in September 2020 was a big reason the Cowlitz County Department of Emergency Management started working on the alert system, after there was some confusion early on during that wildfire.
He’s hoping this time around, the public is better informed and knows this alert system is here to help and possibly save lives, after nearly 100 people died in last year’s historic heat wave.
“We did wait as long as we could last week before we put out any information regarding this," said Hembree. "But again, with the certainty that the National Weather Service had in the prediction for this event, we felt like it was important — especially for some of those vulnerable people to make sure that we got the word out and shelters were established.”