Second call for Hyper-Reach

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Emergency Services is reaching out a second time, asking that Beaufort County residents register with the county’s new alert system.

According to Emergency Services Technician Lisa Respess, any resident who relies solely on a cell phone for communication, and has no landline, needs to sign up with Hyper-Reach, in order to get county-issued alerts that affect them directly.

“The need for residents who use cell phones exclusively to register their phone numbers is crucial to them receiving not only weather alerts, but county-issued alerts,” Respess said. “For example, a boil water advisory was issued on Friday and only about 50 percent of the residents along the affected streets received the phone alert.”

The boil water advisory affected a very small area in Beaufort County — only six streets, Respess said. While those with landlines received the notice via a phone call to their home phone, the 50 percent who didn’t are those whose cell phones are not registered with the program.

Hyper-Reach is not just about weather alerts: it’s about getting information to people on a need to know basis, according to Respess. And that’s a broad amount of information: boil water alerts, roads closed, county offices closing, water and electricity cut-off notifications, flash flood alerts and more.

Respess gave a real-life example: on Tuesday morning in Pinetown, a train hit a car. No one was injured, the train did not derail but the road was closed for several hours during an investigation of the collision.

“Say that train had overturned … And there were chemicals on that train and we needed to evacuate Pinetown we would send out an alert,” Respess said. “If your cell phone’s not registered and you don’t have a landline, you’re not going to get that notice—not from me.”

She described these types of alerts as the meat of Hyper-Reach; the advisories road-specific, neighborhood specific or county-specific. Basically, the alerts are only as far reaching as the areas affected by any given situation, Respess said, adding that those who don’t wish to receive weather alerts can opt out of that particular feature.

There are several ways for cell phone users to sign up for the Hyper-Reach. For those with Internet access, sign up takes a matter of seconds through the website ( Internet signup allows users to indicate whether they would need special assistance in case of emergency evacuation. Residents can also pick a form up from Emergency Services, 1420 Highland Drive, Washington, or call the office to have a form mailed to them, 252-946-2046.

“Get yourself registered, because if that’s your only line, you need to get on the boat,” Respess said.