STAUNTON - There's a new way to keep people safe in the Valley thanks to an emergency alert system called Everbridge.
Everbridge is designed to send out alerts to people who live in Staunton about events ranging from emergencies to city park closings.
Staunton City Council members approved the system earlier this year.
Staunton Fire and Rescue Chief Scott Garber said getting an emergency message out quickly to people is important.
"Right now we have no other way of getting that message out other than media outlets and just doing a public service announcement," Garber said.
"This allows us to send that out basically it's at our fingertips and we can send it out whenever we need to."
Everbridge will cost the city about $10,000 a year. The city has signed a 5-year contract to use the system.
Steven Conner, who lives in Staunton, said the price is worth it to help keep people like him safe.
"$10,000 a year is chump change. I think it's very, very affordable," Conner said.
Everbridge is the same system Virginia Tech officials chose after a deadly campus shooting five years ago.
"That was a big selling factor for us, that other communities are using this," Garber said. "That's what we looked at."
The new alert system will contact people who sign up for it though several different ways, including text message, emails, and calling a home phone telephone number.
Conner might sign up for the alert system so he can stay safe in Staunton.
"It's a small community, so it's definitely a family atmosphere, so yeah, I think it's a positive move," Conner said.
For a link to sign up for alerts, click here: http://www.staunton.va.us/
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