Get Your Money’s Worth: Register on

Posted In: News, Local,   From Issue 710   By: Mike Thompson

02nd September, 2010     0

Imagine you are out and about, the air turns still and dark clouds hover. Your cell phone rings. Central dispatch informs you that there’s a tornado warning.  You now have an opportunity to inform loved ones.

Your parent or grandparent wanders off at the nursing home, or your child comes up missing.
You at least have the reassurance of knowing that hundreds of households in the surrounding area will be notified to be on the lookout.

There’s a chemical leak in your area, or a police emergency with a barricaded gunman near your home. You will want to know.

We don’t like to think of the prospects of these sorts of potential tragedies, but an historic step toward protecting ourselves and dispersing emergency information is in place through the following website:

“We need to get everyone to buy in and register on the site,” says Tom McIntyre, the former county sheriff who serves as Central Dispatch director.

He is mounting a major publicity campaign, with representatives visiting community events and meetings. A prominent billboard at the west foot of the Holland Avenue Bridge promotes the website.

McIntyre explains that the modern-day upsurge in use of cell phones and other devices has eroded the data base of landline telephone numbers.

Meanwhile, the 911 operation now has capacity to telephone or email up to hundreds of sources at the same time.

More than 1,000 households already have registered, “but we need to reach tens of thousands” in  the registration drive, McIntyre says.

For somebody who is computer savvy, registration at takes only about one minute. Residents need only enter their home addresses, up to four telephone numbers and up to a pair of email addresses. All information is confidential.

Anyone who is not comfortable with computers may ask a family member or friend for help, or call toll-free at (877) 670-3330. Or, they may visit their local city or township clerk’s office.

Anyone who does not own a computer may visit a library or community center that offers public access. A person does not need to own a computer to receive warnings, once they are registered.

If full community registration is achieved, 911 central dispatch will reach a level of service that founders of the emergency system never could have realized 35 years ago.

A final note: Central dispatch user fees are not involved in the system’s cost. Support comes through a $200,000 grant from Hemlock Semiconductor Corp.


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