County adds satellite radio to notification system

Emergency managers from a northern Virginia county who can send critical real time information to subscribers via e-mail, pager, cell phone or personal digital assistant can now add satellite radio to the list.

Arlington County officials have teamed up with Washington, D.C.-based XM Satellite Radio to broadcast public emergency alerts to satellite radio subscribers through the company’s dedicated traffic and weather channel for the Washington area.

“Partnering with XM Satellite Radio gives us another cutting-edge way to quickly get important emergency information to Arlington residents, employees and commuters,” said Bob Griffin, director of the county’s emergency management office, in a press release. “The communities of the National Capital Region are closely linked, and an emergency in Arlington would have broad impact. XM Channel 214 will expand our reach throughout the region.”

More than two years ago, the county launched its emergency notification system to alert residents and business owners about weather-related incidents, traffic accidents or terrorist attacks and other events. Subscribers can sign up through Roam Secure, which manages Arlington’s emergency alert system and those of other government agencies and businesses.

David Drescher, Roam Secure’s chief executive officer, said the county is the first to integrate its public warning system with satellite radio technology. He said the deal paves the way for other customers to do the same in other communities.

XM, which has more than 4.4 million subscribers, provides continuous, comprehensive and up-to-date traffic information in 21 major cities.

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