Annual Roanoke County “RoCo Alert” Test set for Thursday

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 3:18 PM EDT
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Roanoke County’s Emergency Communications Center will test its RoCo Alert emergency notification system this week.

The test is set for Thursday, May 28, about 9 a.m.

Each year, the county tests the system in an effort to make sure the procedures, processes and staff training are up to date. The public is being notified in advance to eliminate any confusion that may occur when the system is tested.

The test notification will be done only in eastern Roanoke County, including the Vinton and Mt. Pleasant areas.

RoCo Alert works like a “reverse 9-1-1,” according to the county, and allows the county to call every household phone number in the 9-1-1 Center database in the event of an emergency. RoCo Alert can also be used to call households in a specific area using addresses and GIS mapping technology, depending on the incident.

The system is activated by the county’s public safety agencies, including Police, Fire & Rescue or the Sheriff’s Office, and is issued to "warn of imminent threats to lives or property, such as local flooding, wildfire notices, severe weather alerts, evacuation notices, or other public safety warnings."

The system allows residents to sign up optional cell phone numbers and email addresses, and add additional county addresses to their notifications. For example, residents might want to add spouses' workplaces, children’s schools, or elderly parents' home addresses. If an emergency notice is issued for these areas, residents' cell phones and email addresses would be used to notify them, whenever and wherever they may be.

You can sign up for the alerts through the


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