OB Fire-Rescue leading effort for water safety phone alert system
Orange Beach Fire-Rescue is coordinating with Gulf Shores Fire-Rescue and the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency to create a cell phone beach safety alert system that could be a game changer for water safety awareness on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
The system would provide a link to visitors’ cell phones through the county’s Everbridge mass notification system. Baldwin County already uses the system’s software for its “AlertBaldwin” program that notifies citizens about mostly weather related emergency situations.
OB Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling (pictured) said getting people to sign up for the service would require coordination with local businesses such as short term rental companies to alert visitors that they can text a keyword to Everbridge’s number, 888-777, to receive notifications when red flags are flying on local beaches.
“There’s going to have to be some collaboration with businesses, with municipalities and with billboards. We could get waterproof fliers to hand out at all the condos that has beach safety flag information. The info is something we could print on the bottom,” said Kimmerling.
Two men, including Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Smith, drowned in rough surf in Fort Morgan this month.
“We need to be looking at every way we can to help educate people to have them have a good time and still be safe,” said Kimmerling.