Chelan and Douglas Counties are making the switch to a new emergency alert system.

The Everbridge Emergency Alert System will replace the two-county area's current system, AlertSense, starting April 1.

Sgt. Jason Reinfeld of Chelan County Emergency Management says the move will bring the two counties in sync with the region's other counties who all use the Everbridge system.

"Up until now, Okanogan, Grant, and Kittitas (Counties) were all using this system. Now, Douglas and Chelan (Counties) are going to be on the same system, so we can back each other up if we have issues or are overburdened at any time."

Just like the outgoing system, Everbridge is designed to disseminate emergency alerts, such as evacuations and potential safety hazards, to cell phones in the area.

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Reinfeld adds the new system will also make it easier for emergency officials to send alerts in Spanish.

"One of the reasons we moved to this system was for a more efficient access to bilingual messaging. It has a built-in translation feature and we publish our alert messages in English and Spanish and wanted to have the most efficient way to do both."

All residents who were receiving emergency messages through AlertSense will be automatically rolled into the Everbridge system, which will be managed by the region's individual Emergency Management offices.

Citizens who aren’t already registered to receive emergency alerts are encouraged to sign up online or download the Everbridge mobile app.

Reinfeld also recommends people turn on the current location feature on their cell phones during wildfire season so emergency alerts can properly reach them when they are away from home.

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