Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen told KDHL Friday the number of residents signed up for the Everbridge emergency notification system is low.  Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst joins us at 9:30 a.m. today to give us more details.

A member of the Faribault City Council during a recent meeting asked why the community was not informed by Everbridge when the Mayor imposed a curfew at the request of the Police Chief.  Bohlen indicated he would have gone that route if more people were signed up.

He said 1880 people out of approximately 24,000 Faribault residents are signed up for the emergency notification system.  Bohlen said, "We really encourage residents to sign up for Everbridge.  Everbridge is an alert system that can call your phone and let you know that something's going on.  We try not to push things out unless there's a major emergency or there's something we want the public to be aware of but we really want residents and are encouraging them to enroll in Everbridge."

He said it was easy to get signed up.  Chief Dienst will touch on those specifics for us today.

Bohlen added, "If there's a dangerous chemical released or a crash on the freeway we could notify people.  If law enforcement is looking for somebody who's dangerous to the community we use Everbridge.  We try not to just send something out that's not a very important message.  We use it mainly for public safety and things we think the population should know."

Some people might be confused about the alerts they receive.  I've had people mention to me they get Amber Alerts so they must be signed up but the Faribault Police Chief says those are sent out over IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System).

He explains, "I can force a message through IPAWS to every cell phone in the state or in a area, a (specific) geographic area. For example an Amber Alert there's a very high threshold that you have to meet.  We have to feel and law enforcement has to be vetted through the state that we really feel that somebody's been abducted.  Their life is in danger.  If it meets that threshold we're allowed to issue an Amber Alert and that alert forces a signal to everybody's cell phone.  Even though you don't sign up for something."

Everbridge provides more local messages:

  • Snow emergency
  • Weather alert
  • Search for dangerous person or persons
  • Unexpected road closures
  • Evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods

"People can sign up for different notifications through it. I would encourage anybody in Faribault to sign up for Everbridge.  They're not going to send you notifications on everything.  You can choose what to be notified about."