SANATOGA PA – If warnings issued Monday afternoon (June 8, 2015) about heavy thunderstorms and the threat of a tornado across a wide swath of Montgomery County prompted worries about personal or family safety, Ray Lopez hopes you’ll think about being ready for whatever future the weather, or any potential emergency, holds.
As Lower Pottsgrove’s emergency management coordinator, Lopez is urging township residents to register for a new, free system that will send them phone, text or e-mail alerts about local, county-wide, and in some cases school emergency situations. It’s called “ReadyMontco,” and it went active last week (Tuesday, June 2).
Lopez introduced the system Monday night during a presentation to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners. Ironically, before he spoke, his cell phone received an audible alert about the pending thunderstorm. Then, as he talked, torrents of rain fell outside the municipal building at 2199 Buchert Rd.
He apologized to commissioners for the phone interruption, but happily noted the effectiveness of the system.
In recent years more than 130 township residents had registered to receive alerts under an older, less sophisticated transmission program called “ReadyNotifyPA,” Lopez said. Because the county is transitioning to ReadyMontco, those same residents will have to sign up anew. Registration doesn’t take long, he promised, and it’s completed easily in any web browser.
The system’s improved features let users selectively choose the alerts they want to receive, when they want them, and how they’ll get them. Messages about emergencies in Lower, Upper and West Pottsgrove townships, as well as in Limerick township and the borough of Pottstown, all are available. So are emergency messages from the Pottstown School District; the Pottsgrove and Spring-Ford districts are not yet included.
The types of emergencies for which notices will be available cover most interests of those who live in the county. Severe weather warnings, like the tornado watch issued Monday for an area that included Pottstown, Sanatoga and Limerick, top that list. The system will also offer news about:
- traffic disruptions, including major collisions and road closures;
- shelter-in-place and evacuation information;
- significant water main breaks; and
- significant law enforcement or fire rescue incidents that affect the community.
The county describes ReadyMontco as “a direct connection to updates; instructions on where to go, what to do (and what NOT to do), and who to contact; and other important information.”
Lopez said he considers it a potential life-saver.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ June 8 meeting):
Top photo from Google Images; Storm photo by Danielle Long via Twitter