TAWAS CITY  – Iosco County residents will soon get to enjoy the benefits of the Rave Alert system, according to Iosco County 911 Director Mike Eller, who discussed the system at the Feb. 17 Iosco County Board of Commissioners Committee of the Whole meeting.

Eller told commissioners that Mike Bowers, the emergency management director for Arenac, Oscoda and Ogemaw counties has spearheaded the effort to get a Homeland Security grant to pay for the service in those counties, as well as Iosco County.

“The Homeland Security Grant will pay for a one-year subscription for Rave Alert,” Eller told commissioners, adding that he intends to apply yearly to Homeland Security to maintain the subscription and keep it. 

Eller explained that Rave Alert is an emergency alert system that allows administrators of the software to send out emergency alerts to the public in a variety of ways.

“So Eric Abbott, our emergency management coordinator, could send out alerts to the citizens of Iosco County, they could be text messages on cell phones, emails, Facebook alert messages, and other avenues of alerting the public,” Eller said.

He said the system could be used to let residents know about things like road closures, flooding, COVID-19 alerts, and other emergency information that would be valuable to get out to the public.

“I am asking for you is to move a resolution forward to the full board to approve the county purchase this,” Eller said. He added that the county would have to pay its share upfront, which is $5,100, but then would be reimbursed in several months by Midland County, which officiates the Homeland Security grant for the project.

Commissioner Charles Finely, who has a background in emergency medical services, said that he knew the Rave Alert program and he was glad that Eller was looking to implement it into Iosco County.

“I’m glad that you’ve taken the ball and run with it,” he said. “It’s a dynamic program for these counties. The Michigan National Guard is on this, Bay Count is on this, Hillsdale and others.”

Finley said the true value of Rave Alert for residents is the broad spectrum on how it can be used to communicate with residents.

“This is because it is in real time,” he said. “It’ll be dynamic for Iosco County and the surrounding counties involved in this program.”

Chairman Jay O’Farrell said that he was also familiar with the system and said it was a good one. 

“It’s an excellent way of getting information out,” he said.

After the discussion, the board voted unanimously to approve the motion and move it to the full board for a vote at the next meeting, which will be held in March.

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