Sharp County Turns to Computer to Save Lives

February 5, 2005--Posted 5:00 pm CST

Sharp County--It all began at a conference hundreds of miles away fromSharp County.  Now a chance meeting between County Sheriff Dale Weaver and representatives of a software company could save future lives.

The software is called Alert X Press.  It allows a user to quickly and precisely pass along vital information to large groups of people.  The process takes just minutes.  In a business and area which is all about saving lives, time is obviously an important key to success.

The system was up and running in November and since then Sharp county authorities have been imputing information and data on everyone in what they consider danger zones.  These zones are directly down stream of several man-made earth dams.  These dams are anywhere from a few feet high to as tall as sixty feet high.  While nothing is wrong with the dams now, officials say it is important to be ready for anything.

“We can get the information out like that.” Detective Ken Guidry says while snapping his fingers.  Guidry set up a demonstration, sending out an alert to one of the station cell phones.  The alert was received in under a minute. 

While sending the information out to one cell phone is not impressive the machine can send out hundreds of calls per minute.  It can also repeats calls to people who were not contacted.  The cool thing is almost all of the things it can do can be adjusted making it very dynamic to the user.

“We haven’t figured out everything we can use it for yet.” Guidry says.  As of right now all county law enforcement and emergency responders have been input into the system.  The county also input a list of people possibly in danger of a dam break into the system.  Each of these lists can be separated to make each message extremely detailed.

In one scenario someone is missing.  Instead of sending out one massive message to everyone they just call in the sniffing dog and search and rescue in one click.  The message is also fully adjustable and read off by an automated system.  If things do not improve in just one more click they can call out the entire search and rescue team.