The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search

Caution urged for Prom Night

Emergency services chief resigns post

Four days, three fatal crashes

A Clarksville teen died Friday in Buffalo Junction wreck, the first of three deadly car crashes in Mecklenburg County in the past week.


Double play





Storm sends emergency notification system into overdrive

South Boston News
A tree was knocked down by the storm at the entrance to Bojangles in the Centerville area of South Boston. / July 07, 2017
A system of thunderstorms that swept through the area Thursday afternoon uprooted trees and downed utility lines, but of more immediate concern to officials in Halifax County was the effect the storm had in exposing flaws in the county’s Emergency Notification System.

“We had one storm that came into our area last night, however we were notified of this storm at least eight times,” said Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator Chad Loftis. The effect — which Loftis blamed on the county’s service provider — was to send a stream of text messages, robocalls and email notifications to system subscribers warning of a weather event that turned out to be relatively minor.

“What I am afraid of is citizens getting tired of the system and removing their number,” stated Loftis of the problem, “and when we really need it citizens may not be signed up. It's a classic case of the boy who cried wolf ….”

For an individual who is signed up to receive the emergency notifications, “this could mean eight emails, eight phone calls, and eight texts. So some people were notified 24 times of the same storm,” he said.

Loftis is concerned that excessive warnings may lead some people to unsubscribe to the emergency notifications, “then it changes to a tornado but it is ignored. This is something we can't have in Halifax County.”

Halifax County is working with its service provider to rectify the problem, but the company is in the midst of a corporate merger and Loftis indicated that he was unsure how quickly action will be taken.

“If I see progress for our citizens we will continue with what we have, if not we will have to look at other providers. I just hope the citizens will understand we are working on the problem but it may take a while,” he stated.

The storm swept through South Boston shortly before 6 p.m. and caused light damage, with a few roads blocked off by downed trees and a handful of utility lines weighed down by fallen trees and limbs. Loftis issued a reminder that anyone seeing a downed line should assume it is potentially dangerous, and the best course of action is to report the problem to utility companies or to the 911 emergency call center.

Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment


Sports Coverage

See complete sports coverage for Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.