OXFORD – Lafayette County will buy equipment and pay licensing to tap into Oxford’s Alert FM emergency notification system.

The digital system, which the city contracts from a commercial supplier, uses FM signals to send out Homeland Security notices, weather alerts, Amber alerts and other emergency notifications to area residents who buy the $35 receiver.

“If there’s a spill on one of the highways, it can notify people in that area,” said Board of Supervisors President Lloyd Oliphant.

The board voted 5-0 this week to buy the system, which also can be programmed to notify specific entities.

“They could used for anything from Paris Fire Department has a training session on such-and-such a date to there’s a tornado on the ground,” said District 5 Supervisor Ray Sockwell Jr.

Emergency Management Coordinator David Shaw explained Oxford’s grant-funded system “comes with about 100 channels, for lack of a better term. Twenty of those channels are available, and they have agreed to let us have them.”

The arrangement will allow Shaw, the E-911 office and perhaps the fire coordinator or the sheriff to issue alerts.

“The system is accessed via computer. If an alert needs to go out, I would go to my computer, type in my password, type in the message and send it,” Shaw said. “The Alert FM people are willing to allow us three administrative positions at $250 each, without the $25,000 setup fee, since that’s already been paid.”

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

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