In the late 1970s, Washington County Emergency Government received a grant to provide Emergency Management pager receivers to schools, municipalities, factories and other private entities to receive severe weather broadcasts from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to the grant, many pagers were also privately purchased and/or leased. The program was referred to as the 900 EMG Paging System.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has been testing that particular pager group on a daily basis at 12 p.m. ever since. There still may be a limited number of those pagers in existence, but the Sheriff’s Office has no way of tracking all 900 EMG pagers; the 900 EMG Pagers only receive pages and do not transmit data.
Since the implementation of that program, technology and equipment has changed allowing individuals to acquire weather alerts in a variety of different ways. Severe weather alerts are currently available on a host of different platforms including most mobile devices, weather radios, police scanners, television stations and radio stations.
Keeping that in mind, the Sheriff’s Office would still like to continue to provide the severe weather page option to any entity that still has an active 900 EMG Pager.
If there are still entities that are using such a device, and want to continue to do so, they will have to contact the Sheriff’s Office and make arrangements for our Radio Administrator to evaluate the pager to determine if it can be reprogramed.
The Sheriff’s Office has updated our protocols for paging severe weather so only one severe weather page has to be done rather than multiple pages to different groups. This update enhances public safety by making severe weather notifications quicker.
During the week of May 9 – May 13, the Sheriff’s Office will also be making a formal announcement during the 900 EMG page that users of the 900 EMG System will need to have their pagers updated if that want to continue to receive severe weather alerts. After May 13th, the severe weather 900 EMG page will be replaced with the more uniform severe weather page. Anyone needing their 900 EMG pagers evaluated can contact our Radio Administrator at 262-335-4308.
Captain Martin Schulteis 402/471
Washington County Sheriff’s Office