Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Emergency Website for Hays County

Hays County is coordinating a countywide effort to help the public have access to official information during emergency situations in Hays County. Internet users can now visit when a major emergency occurs to get updates on the situation. Authorized users from the county, cities, school districts, law enforcement, fire and EMS departments will be able to post information about major emergency events so that residents and visitors can get real-time information about what is going on.

The website will be used to post information about major emergencies, including issues that affect schools, but not minor or scheduled street closings or signal light issues and the like. Each authorized jurisdiction and agency, including the on-scene commander for major situations, will be able to post information from the scene, from an office or by the side of the road quickly and efficiently. It will also make it easier for response agencies that do not have public information staff to post information.

Another feature of the new website is that by using an RSS feed, other entities can link to the information, helping to ensure that official information is shared and lessening the occurrence of inaccurate information and rumors being spread via social media. The County will soon begin publicizing the website via bumper stickers, sending information home with school children and at other venues where the public congregates.

Emergency responders see this as an advantage for people traveling within our county from one community to another and for persons who might be traveling through the county when an emergency situation is occurring. Rather than try to visit websites or phone various jurisdictions, the information will be in one place and easy to review. People will be able to tell if roads are blocked, schools are locked down or if an area is being evacuated, and know what action officials are asking them to take.