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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Phone app warns of severe weather, supports 911

  • Funding for 911 continues to decrease across the nation, and as expenses continue to increase and as the public makes more demands for newer technology from 911, Emergency 911 centers are looking for any revenue stream they can find.
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  • Funding for 911 continues to decrease across the nation, and as expenses continue to increase and as the public makes more demands for newer technology from 911, Emergency 911 centers are looking for any revenue stream they can find.
    Saline County E-911 has partnered with MyWARN, a weather application for smart phones. The application is not a free application (APP), and the application is downloadable to a smart phone. The application, alerts people to Severe Weather, by their location. Users do not have to input locations; the application takes the phone’s GPS position and only alerts users to when they are in a watch or warning location.
    The application is great for people that are traveling. If they drive into a warned area, the system warns them they have entered into a severe weather area. They don’t have to remember what county they live in or what county they are driving or staying in. It is ideal for truckers and people on vacation, as they move across the country, the application will alert them only to events they are located near.
    One of the other features of MyWarn, is if users are in a severe weather area and a television station in that area has partnered with MyWarn. Users can receive streaming video from the television station, through the application, so they can seek shelter and still receive critical weather information on their phones. At this time no local television station is a partner to MyWarn.
    For each person that downloads the application, MyWarn is making a donation to 911. Once the person has initialized the application and entered the Promo Code: 911, then MyWarn will make a donation to 911.
    While the MyWarn donations will not replace the general revenue streams that are already in place for 911, it will help with some of the expenses.
    “There are no costs to Saline County 911 for this partnership, the owners of MyWarn felt that this was another way to assist the public and public safety,” said Lt. Tracy Felty, director of Saline County E-911.
    Generally, 911 systems are funded by a surcharge on both land-line phones and cell phones, but as more and more people turn off their land-lines for cell phones, the revenue is not matching or keeping up with the expenses. In Saline County a land-line is $1.50 per month and a cell phone is only $0.73, of which only $0.58 cents is remitted to 911.
    In 2011, a report filed with the Illinois General Assembly revealed that 911 centers in Illinois were underfunded by 20 percent. The Illinois General Assembly has been reluctant to increase the cell phone surcharge, as the Illinois Telecommunications Association feels that passing along the increase to customers puts cell phone companies at a disadvantage, according to the release.
    Now Illinois poison control centers are also wanting a portion of the 911 surcharge, which will affect smaller 911 centers that are on the edge or turning 911 services off, according to the release.
    Page 2 of 2 - The App is MyWarn and the Promo Code is 911.
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