Bryan County looking to purchase text alert system in case of severe weather

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BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - Bryan County Commissioner Ron Boyer says instead of sirens, that some folks around the county probably wouldn't be able to hear, he's making plans that would send alerts to cell phones in the area, in case a natural disaster strikes.

The tornado that touched down near Dustin Barrett's house in early May caused a tree branch to crush his car and damage parts of his house.

But his wife had her eyes on a storm tracker app on her phone, and they were able to stay safe that night.

"It was storming pretty good, she obviously had that up on her phone. I didn't, I was just playing a game," said Barrett.

Some weren't as lucky, as the tornado was responsible for the deaths of two women in Blue.

On July 31, Bryan County received a $6,800 check from the Choctaw Nation, which Boyer says will go towards a text-alert system.

He says the use of text-alerts would save the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Lets say its an 8-10 thousand dollar investment, but a siren is 25 thousand (dollars). If we did a siren for everywhere we needed one, we would need 30-60 of these things. So you can see its considerably better," said Boyer.

Boyer says the system would work through a Digital Alert System that can send out emergency text messages over the airwaves in the county, similar to Amber Alerts.

He believes even if you're in an area with bad cell reception, you can still receive texts from the system.

"You can be in Bryan County and you'll get it, if you're from Washington you'll get it, anywhere it is. All it does is look at your MAC address in your phone and says 'oh, he's in my area,' Turn it on," said Boyer.

"If we had that at the time, I think things would have been a little different for the people of Bokchito and Blue," (Barrett)

Boyer says he hopes to have this project completed by the end of the year.