Participants will be notified of emergencies while attending the Fair.
Frederick, Md (KM) Anyone attending the Great Frederick Fair this week can be notified in case of emergencies. The Frederick County Division of Emergency Management has set up a text opt-in service so that citizens can be aware of any weather alerts or other emergencies.
“One of our biggest challenges during special events for public safety is should something happen that we need to the public to know about. It’s a real challenge to notify, especially visitors,” says Rebekah May, Emergency Management Planner.
She says text messaging system will allow residents and visitors to the Fair to be notified in case of emergencies, such as impending severe weather so that they can take precautions, like getting into a sturdy building. In addition, police departments, and fire and rescue personnel can send out notices. “Our law enforcement, and fire and rescue personnel, if they have any kind of information they need to push out to the public, they’ll be able to do so as well from the incident command post,” May says.
Those residents who have signed up for Alert Frederick County already receive this information. But in order to do that, they have to create an account, or download an app for their smart phone. “It’s a little bit of work,” May says. “And it’s work that probably visitors aren’t going to be willing to do, or even Frederick County residents who aren’t so inclined to do so, but may want to know what’s going on at the Fair while they’re there.”
To get this text messaging service, residents need to text GFFair to 888777. Message and data rates could apply.
But this text opt-in will only be in operation for the duration of the Fair, which concludes on Saturday, September 21st. “It’s temporary. The way it’s set up is that once people opt in, they’re in for the week. And once the week is up, they will be automatically unsubscribed, and will not get any more messages from us,” says May.
However, she says this service could come back for future events where large numbers of people gather. “We’re just kind of playing it by ear right now, seeing how this works, and if we get a good reception to it. And then hopefully, we’ll be able to roll this out for more events,” says May.
Other future events, May says, could be those put on by the County’s Parks and Recreation, and the Fourth of July Celebration at Baker Park in Frederick.
By Kevin McManus