offer residents emergency warnings

Santa Clara County has launched a alert system specifically aimed at the vulnerable unsheltered homeless population, which would let those with a mobile device know when the weather is taking a potentially dangerous turn.

“Normally when we send out mass alerts, we tailor it to a neighborhood or region or wherever it is going to impact people,” said Patty Eaton of the county’s Office of Emergency Services. “This new function specifically alerts homeless individuals about shelter availability during excessive heat or cold or rain.”

The latest addition to Alert Santa Clara County, the new free service — activated by texting HOMELESS to 888-777 — automatically sends a text alert and instructions to a mobile device when it is activated. The county has had a similar system available to offer residents emergency warnings in the event of a fire, flood, criminal activity or other significant event that could require action or evacuation.

Stephanie Demos of HomeFirst, which partners with the county to visit encampments to tell people about threatening conditions and offer them food, water and services, said many homeless people do have inexpensive cell phones who could be reached with the service.

“This is one of those things that there will be people who see it for the lifeline that it is and use it,” she said, “and others — the more chronic homeless who may have substance abuse issues — who may not. But it’s a tremendously humane effort to reach out to anyone we can.”

Eaton said that while the system has been in the works for some time, they pushed forward with the rollout of the homeless-specific model in the wake of a recent heat wave that saw one homeless person die in their vehicle on June 19.

The messages will include addresses of warming or cooling centers, as well as emergency shelters.

“Everything helps,” said Pastor Scott Wagers of CHAM Deliverance Ministry, who has been critical of notification efforts in past weather events. “I’ll never forget a couple of episodes in recent years — that cold snap where four people died, and the February flood. Homeless people were literally swimming out.”

Wagers, who regularly visits camps bearing food, water and other supplies, said that while the notifications may be heeded by some who sign up for the service, ultimately a greater in-person warning effort is needed.

“We have to go out to where they are and tell them, ‘this is coming,’” he said. “An emergency warning system is good, but implementation is another thing.”

During the June heat wave, homeless people at a creekside camp in north San Jose said they knew there were cooling centers available but weren’t interested in going for various reasons: A lack of transportation, a desire to bring along an animal companion, resistance to leave unguarded possessions behind.

Long-Running Program Gives Teens an Inside Look at Law Enforcement

During the academy, which runs for 5 days, teens will be visited by a wide array of law enforcement ranging from the United States Secret Service, FBI, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Police, to name a few.  The teens tour sites such as the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Center, New Jersey State Police Headquarters and other exciting locations often not accessible to the general public.

One of the goals of the East Brunswick Junior Police Academy is aimed at educating teens so that they become citizens who are more aware of the importance of a progressive community and law enforcement partnership. Students are encouraged to get involved in their community to continue to influence positive change.  Each student who attends finds something that interests them and leaves with an appreciation of the different aspects of law enforcement.

The program also educates students about the many different career tracks in policing, not only sworn law enforcement roles, but also those roles within law enforcement such as crime analysts and technicians who are specially trained.

The Academy runs annually and registrations are handled through the East Brunswick Department of Parks and Recreation.  Registration announcements are made via social media, Nixle and other media sources a few months prior to the start of the academy.

Train Leak Prompts Emergency Alert

SAUGERTIES–An “shelter in place” alert was issued late Tuesday afternoon via Nixle after a CSX train was determined to be leaking hydrochloric acid at the rail crossing on Malden Turnpike, according to authorities.

Photo provided by Saugerties police.

The alert advised people in the vicinity to stay indoors and close windows while officials worked to resolve the problem.

Exposure to the highly corrosive liquid can cause lung irritation, shortness of breath, choking, coughing and abdominal pain, according to

If the acid comes into contact with the skin, eyes or internal organs, damage can be irreversible or even fatal.

“We sent out the community alert to shelter in place and put windows down, just for their own safety,” said Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra. “At the time, our concern was whatever did get released. Working with emergency officials, the best
course of action at the time was to shelter in place.”

Sinagra said 1,096 people immediately received the alert and spread it further through social media.

No evacuations took place.

There were no immediate reports of people suffering symptoms, the chief said.

Police were notified at 5:33 p.m.–45 minutes after it happened–and began working with the Ulster County Emergency Management Office and county fire coordinator’s office to determine how much of the acid had been released.

“Although there was a release, they don’t think it was large,” the chief said.

The cause of the leak was a blown gasket connected to a valve with a vapor space, allowing the release of the fluid, Sinagra said..

It was first noticed by a northbound CSX train passing the southbound train. CSX officials were then notified that it was discharging the substance and the train was stopped at the Malden crossing.

Hazmat teams from Kingston and CSX responded, along with various fire departments and Saugerties and CSX police. A “temporary fix” was made, the chief said.

The train then headed to the CSX yard in Kingston, where the company Hepaco Emergency Response Team will make the repair on the car.

The train, which had 100 cars, was heading south, though Sinagra did not know its final destination.

After the alert was issued, the chief said police got several calls from the public asking about symptoms to hydrochloric acid exposure.

Missing Newberry County Man Found Safe Tuesday

NEWBERRY COUNTY, SC (WACH) – The Newberry man who went missing Monday has been found, according to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office.
Johnny H. Smith was found alive in his car, which was backed into a wooded area in prosperity, according to a citizen who spotted the vehicle.

The citizen was alerted about the missing person’s case through an alert system called Nixle.

There’s still no word on Smith’s condition and why he was in the wooded area.
Smith was last seen dropping off items on Mountain Drive in the Columbia area around 7 a.m. Monday.

‘Community’ major factor in locating missing boy

A 12-year-old Oak Ridge boy was reported missing from Georgia Avenue early Monday night, but was located approximately four hours later.

By Donna Smith/The Oak Ridger
A 12-year-old Oak Ridge boy was reported missing from Georgia Avenue early Monday night, but was located approximately four hours later.

“He was fine,” Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi said Tuesday afternoon.

“He was wet and cold. He was not injured in any way. We’re glad we got him back to his family.”

Akagi said the parents have asked the police to not comment on the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and they are honoring those wishes.

However, he is commenting on the response he witnessed by officers and the community in locating the Jefferson Middle School student.

“It was quite a feeling of group accomplishment when we got him,” Akagi said during the telephone interview. “Everybody contributed. It’s really neat to live in a community that has the kind of spirit to rally around a crisis.”

The police chief said about 15 to 20 officers were involved in the search. When the call about the missing child came in at about 6:30 p.m. Monday, the police department was finishing a meeting.

Author Ann Patchett speaks at Lunch-4-Literacy
“We had supervisors there who volunteered to assist,” Akagi said. “We had a lot of volunteer people who just said, ‘Look we’ve got a missing child, I’m here to help.’

“That was very, very gratifying,” the police chief said.

He said the principal and staff at Jefferson Middle School were contacted and began working together to come up with any leads as to where the child might be. The police got a lot of leads from the school personnel, he said.

A man who had received the information that the boy was missing through the Nixle system called police dispatch when he saw a boy matching his description, Akagi said.

“It’s a great way to get information out very quickly to a lot of people, Akagi said. The chief said 4,797 people are signed up to receive alerts from the ORPD through the system that sends out messages from the police to people’s smartphones, computers or other internet-connected device. People can easily sign up for the system by going to They can also text 37830 to 888-777 to subscribe to text alerts.

“We sincerely appreciate the public calling (the Police Department.) That made the difference last night,” he said.

City Council Approves New Severe Weather Alerting System

SAN ANGELO, TEXAS – Tuesday morning, the San Angelo City Council approved an agreement that would change the way citizens receive warnings, alerting them of severe weather conditions.

Currently, the City uses 29 air sirens to alert residents around the city of hazardous weather. However, due to the age of the siren system and the sparse coverage from the sirens, both San Angelo Police and Fire departments, have recommended that the City switch over to a new software system: Nixle.

Nixle is currently used by the SAPD to alert people of motor vehicle crashes. The City would like to use the “upgraded version” that would work with a federal regulated integrated public alert and warning system “iPause,” said Brian Dunn, San Angelo’s Fire Chief, this morning. The upgraded Nixle system will work similar to amber alerts.

“They will come through no matter what,” added Dunn.

With the new system, residents will be able to receive alerts via landlines, cell phones, local TV stations, and the weather radio. Alerts will also be sent out via SAPD Facebook, Twitter, Google accounts, City Emergency Management and COSA social media accounts.

Furthermore, SAPD’s Public Information Officer, Tracy Gonzales, added, “We are the only phone safety system that partners with Google,” which means that should “somebody [visit] San Angelo and they have not subscribed to Nixle, or they are not residents of San Angelo,” Nixle will still “automatically populate to their [phone].”

The new Nixle system will allow for pre-built messages, e.g. “tornado warning,” for each message sent out. Gonzalez added that the message will not only include what the warning is for, but also a “call to action” and “instructions of what to do and where to go afterwards for help.”

The price for the switch is not as pricey as one may assume.

All 29 sirens and their poles will need to be torn down. Dunn estimates that the demolitions would require a one-time fee of $150,000–a fee that is significantly cheaper than paying approximately $150,000 per new siren head. The City will also need to pay an annual fee of $5,500 to keep the system up to date. This cost is similar to the amount the City is currently paying for electricity on the sirens.

Councilman Lane Carter raised his concern of people not wanting to answer unrecognized phone numbers, to which both Dunn and Gonzalez reassured him that the Nixle landline alert could be automated to show as an official COSA number on caller ID.

After a 30 minute debate, the council approved of the change. Currently, Chief Dunn is in negotiations with iPause in regards to legalities; however, once officially approved, the new system can be used within three to four weeks.

The next city council meeting will take place on April 18 at the McNease Convention Center at 8:30 a.m. As always, all meetings are free and open to the public.


The 12-year-old boy reported missing from Georgia Avenue on Monday evening was located Monday night, authorities said.

The boy was reported missing sometime around 7 p.m., according to Nixle alerts sent out by the City of Oak Ridge.

On Tuesday morning, the city said the boy was located shortly after 10 p.m. Monday and reunited with his parents.

“We used Nixle alerts to communicate the initial search and provide updates to the community and media,” the City of Oak Ridge said. “Those alerts actually played a major role in helping us find the missing child.”

You can receive Nixle alerts by registering here or by using your cell phone to text your zip code to 888777 for mobile alerts. The Oak Ridge Police Department uses Nixle for several reasons, including to alert people when a road is closed due to a car crash, when they want people to avoid a certain area due to police activity, or when they are searching for a missing child.

Nixle Saves Lives During Illinois Tornado

“LaSALLE COUNTY, Ill – Tuesday’s storm caused extensive damage in LaSalle County, homes were blown apart and large trees were knocked down.

Ottawa’s Mayor believes the new Nixle system, helped save lives of citizens in the city.

‘Our citizens were advised, by phone, cell  phone about the appending tornado and i think hopefully in minimizing the fatalities,’ Mayor Robert M Eschbach said. Many believe without the new software, things could have been much worse.

‘They did a good job warning people, when they sent those alarm outs and probably saved lives. If someone had been outside walking, they’d  be dead right now,  they did a good job, i have got to give them credit for that,’ Gerald Stevens said.”

Alert Citizen Finds Missing Man With Dementia

ANHORAGE, AK – Missing Man, Charlie Fahl, was found safe yesterday evening thanks to an alert citizen who had received an APD’s Nixle notification.  The citizen spotted Fahl at the New Sagaya City Market located at 900 West 13th Ave. at about 5pm.  Fahl had wandered about 5 miles to the downtown destination after going missing in the Goose Lake area around noon today.


Anchorage Police are looking for a missing man with dementia. Charlie Fahl, age 77, was last seen walking in the area of Goose Lake at about noon today.

Falhl is a white male, about 5’7″ tall, 145 pounds with blonde hair and hazel eyes.  He was last seen wearing a rust colored down jacket, olive colored pants, black shoes and a multi-colored hat with ear flaps.  Fahl also wears glasses and has hearing aids.

Woman Missing From Northville House Found Safe

A 25-year-old woman who disappeared late Wednesday or early Thursday from the home of relatives in Northville was located Thursday afternoon, police said.

Police had been looking for Dara Slater of Farmington Hills since early Thursday morning, after an aunt and uncle discovered she had left their home on Fairbrook Street in Northville, where she was to have spent the night.

She had apparently not taken shoes or a jacket with her, said Michael Carlson, the city’s police chief.

No details about how or where Slater was found were available late Thursday afternoon, but a dispatcher at Northville Community Dispatch said she was safe.

Police had put out a Nixle alert about Slater’s disappearance Thursday morning. The alert was updated just before 4 p.m. to say Slater had been found.