Ohio Counties Start Phone System

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A new automated phone system will soon warn hundreds of people of emergencies, water boil orders and other important information.

The City Watch program will be used in Brooke, Hancock, Ohio and Marshall counties. The system can get a message to as many as 400 phone numbers at one time.

Brooke County Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Fowler said all emergency agencies including police and firefighters can be linked into the system and send a phone message to residents.

For example, if there was a hazardous material spill and just a certain neighborhood needed to evacuate, officials could use the system to call only people in the affected area.

In the case of a hostage situation, officials can block out the number of that home and call all neighboring homes and cell phones to warn people.

Fowler said the system could also be used for non-emergencies, like water boil orders. Officials can pinpoint what homes are affected and will also tell residents when the boil order is lifted.

The system already has all landlines programmed into it. For Brooke County residents who want to receive calls on their cell phones, they must fill out the form on the

EMA's Web site

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