By Jen Kastner
MARTIN COUNTY- The community within Martin County is fairly rural. If a disaster strikes, it may be difficult to spread the word quickly.
Chief Fred Schroyer with the Stanton Police Department says, "If something happens in Midland or Odessa, usually the media is there within about 10 minutes. In Stanton, we could have a major emergency and nobody would be aware of it for possibly an hour."
For that reason, the Martin County Emergency Management Coordinator Nat Broadway implemented an emergency instant alert system.
"Preparedness is the key to any disaster," Broadway said.
When an emergency like a tornado or a wildfire happens, the system immediately dials up all of your phone numbers.
Broadways adds, "If it gets to an answering machine, it will hang up and keep calling your number until a human answers."
There is only one problem with all of this. Barely anyone seems to know about the system even though it's been up and running since December of 2011.
Only 175 people have signed up, but there about 2,500 people in the county. That means less than 10% of the population will get a call when a disaster alert goes out.
Martin County is urging residents to sign up for the alerts. They are free and their only purpose to protect lives.
You can register yourself at "iaplus.honeywell.com/Martin County/". You must first go to the "Sign Up" link in the upper left hand corner. Fill out the required fields. You will be sent an "Activation Link" in an email and just follow the instructions to complete the registration.
You can also fill out a sign up form that is located at the Martin County Courthouse Emergency Management Office, Martin County Library and the Texas AgriLife Extension Office.
If you have any problems or need help, please contact the Martin County Emergency Management Office at (432) 607-3557.