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Emergency Alert System Gets Golden Watchdog Award

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May 30, 2008

As wildfires raged across the county last fall, AlertSanDiego helped save lives.  Now the County’s emergency notification system is being recognized for saving tax dollars as well, receiving the San Diego County Taxpayers Association’s highest recognition: the Golden Watchdog Award.

“The County of San Diego has invested heavily in its emergency preparedness systems so that we can protect the public in an emergency and AlertSanDiego has proven to be one of our best investments,” said Greg Cox, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors.  “AlertSanDiego received national praise and attention for its role in safely evacuating more than 515,000 people during the 2007 fires and we can say without a doubt that it saved lives.”

AlertSanDiego allows residents to register their cell phones online to receive information during an emergency.  It was created in partnership with an outside service, and the Taxpayers Association praised the County for eliminating overhead expenses of servers, phones, and maintenance.

AlertSanDiego complements the County’s Reverse 911, which sends emergency messages to landlines. AlertSanDiego was launched a week before the October 2007 wildfires began.  During the disaster, the two systems together sent crucial information to half a million county residents.

The County Department of Parks and Recreation was also recognized, receiving the Taxpayers Association’s “It’s About Time” Award for its online camping reservation system.

The Web site lets campers view photos and get detailed information about individual campsites, make reservations up to a year in advance, and complete the payment process. The Taxpayers Association lauded the site for saving $3,000 a year in operating costs and $110,000 in server maintenance.