CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Donors to the Salvation Army have made possible a free public-alert telephone service for Bradley County residents during community-wide emergencies like the recent tornado outbreaks.
At no cost, residents can sign up with the service, known as Nixle, and get text and email alerts from the Emergency Management Agency, Salvation Army Sgt. Ruthie Forgey said at a media conference Tuesday at the Bradley County EMA/911 Center. Voice alerts, for both cell and landline phones, will be coming in a few months, she said.
After the April 27, 2011, tornadoes, and again last March, donors in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia contributed about $380,000 to the Salvation Army, Forgey said. And there were other donations from across the nation for the region, she said.
Those donations allowed The Salvation Army to assign $1.5 million toward area rebuilding.
The Salvation Army presented Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis and EMA Director Troy Spence with a $44,625 check Tuesday for Nixle service for three years.
"After the tornadoes, we asked what can we do to enhance the safety of the community," Forgey said.
Spence said those who sign up will not be flooded with unimportant phone messages or advertisements.
"Information only comes out of our office. So it's not like you are going to get nuisance messages," Spence said. "For local taxpayers, this is a gift."
An added bonus, he said, is that the 911 Center will have a faster way to page all emergency responders.
Davis said everyone with a phone should sign on to Nixle.
"We can't stress enough that it's free and it's a quick way to get emergency messages to as many people as possible,'' he said.
Currently about 7,000 people are signed up with Nixle in Bradley County. There is a link to Nixle on both the county and city of Cleveland websites, or those interested can text CBCEMA to 888777.