Emergency alert system aims to keep people safe

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Citizen Alert Notification System has been around for years, but a lot of people living within the county are not using the service.

"I usually hear about it via the internet honestly," Grace Wilkins said.

In its ten years of use only a fraction of people living in the county are using it; 90,000 of the more than 300,000 people living in the area.

Those signed up for the system get notifications to their phone or email quickly, and provides you with critical information in your community.

"Any time we have a large-scale disaster, or if there's a search for a missing person or some other type of emergency they'll receive a notification," said Jason Patno, director of the Charleston County Emergency Management Department.

Each month an average of five to seven alerts go out ranging from weather related issues, road closures, and missing people.

"We've had a couple incidents with missing seniors, missing children," Patno said."We can use the notification system again for a neighborhood if it's the last known area where that individual may have been. We can actually make phone calls just to that area and draw it down to a specific portion of the county or make that notification county-wide."

For Wilkins, who didn't know this type of alert was an option, she said with how wide-spread the community is it could keep you more informed.

"I don't think it's super connected yet and knowing all that's happening, so I think it would be really helpful of what's going on in your neighborhood," said Wilkins.

Berkeley, Dorchester, and Georgetown also have their own set of emergency alert system that residents can sign up for.

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