County picks crisis notifier


Telephone-based mass notifications systems are used by thousands of public safety agencies across the U.S. to warn citizens about local emergencies, hazards and other threats. Now, Highland County had announced that it has selected Hyper-Reach to help bring this same life-saving capability to the area.

Hyper-Reach is a state-of-the-art mass emergency notification system designed specifically for public safety. The county expects to have the service fully operational by the end of September, according to David Bushelman, Highland County Emergency Management Agency director.

The new emergency alert system will provide rapid notification of hazardous and urgent situations using a mix of telephone calls, text and email messages, and even TTY/TDD service for the hearing impaired. The system sends thousands of these messages to geographically targeted households in seconds, and can simultaneously deliver them to an even broader audience via social media, as well as sending broadcast messages to most current mobile telephones (made since 2011) in an affected area by providing access to FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, Bushelman said.

“Our job is to protect the citizens of Highland County as effectively and cost-effectively as possible,” Bushelman said. “We reviewed all the major vendors for emergency notification service, and Hyper-Reach gave us everything we needed at an unbelievable price. We’re really excited about this new capability.”

The county plans to use the service primarily for alerts about weather and environmental hazards, criminal activity and missing persons. Landline phones are automatically enrolled for community alerts, but weather alerts to landline phones and community and weather alerts to VoIP phones, mobile phones and email addresses are only included when people enroll.

Residents and people who work in Highland County are encouraged to enroll now (using a county address) either by calling or texting “Alert” to 937-500-0648 or by going to the website

Citizens can get emergency alerts via their Alexa-enabled smart speakers just by saying “Alexa, enable Hyper-Reach” and following the Alexa-provided instructions. With more than 50 million U.S. households using Alexa devices, there are obviously hundreds of county residents with Alexa units, Bushelman said.

Citizens can also download the Hyper-Reach Anywhere app on their smartphone. Hyper-Reach Anywhere is a free smartphone app that allows individual citizens to manage and monitor the alerts they receive, both for their home and office addresses and for other addresses they care about such as those of elderly relatives or friends.

“We’re honored to have been selected by Highland County to provide its emergency alerts,” said Sam Asher, president of Hyper-Reach. “It’s gratifying to be part of an effort to save lives and protect property, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Hyper-Reach ( is a mass notification system with more than 15 years of experience in emergency messaging. Other uses of Hyper-Reach include Amber alerts, toxic chemical warnings, and armed shooter alerts.

Information for this story was provided by David Bushelman, director, Highland County Emergency Management Agency.

Hyper-Reach expected to be fully operational by end of September

For the Times-Gazette

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