"With this system, all of the information is right in front of us, posted directly by the school districts and others. It is automatically updated, organized logically and very easy to read. It speeds the information process at a time when time is of the essence. It eliminates steps in which mistakes can be made -- there are no telephone calls to answer, no illegible handwriting or fuzzy faxes to decipher. To top it off, the information is automatically sent into our web site, making it even more useful. FlashAlert is a miracle cure. I could go on and on about this, it's so cool."
They can call newsrooms with their info — if they’ve got an hour — or fax or email it to you and hope you see it, mixed in with everything else. At certain times of the year, such as during a winter storm or after an earthquake, everyone is trying to reach stations and newspapers at the same time. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to post information in one place and have a system that passes it on immediately to all of the media as well as the public?
That’s the principle behind FlashAlert Newswire. The system collects emergency information and news releases from thousands of organizations – including schools, colleges, businesses, hospitals, utilities, cities, military — and provides it to print, radio and TV media by three methods.
At 11 a.m., emergency messages pertaining to late openings delete. At 5 p.m., the rest of the day’s emergency info deletes and subscribers begin placing information regarding the next day, for use in 6, 10 and 11 p.m. television newscasts. (Organizations may post information before 5 p.m. and mark it for the next day, and that information stays alive through the night.) News releases stay in the archive for one month.
FlashAlert is operated by Craig Walker Communications, which has managed emergency communications for the school districts in the Portland-Vancouver area for 38 years. There is no cost to the media and organizations pay an annual fee ranging from $130 to $250 to post news, depending on org size and reach.
The Portland region alone has 2,150 member organizations, including all police and fire agencies in the region. To see how two Portland stations use the emergency information FlashAlert automatically posts into their websites, visit: KATU TV or KEX Radio.
Portland — Longview to Salem, Astoria to The Dalles
Eugene — Albany/Corvallis to Roseburg
Medford — Medford / Klamath Falls / Grants Pass
Bend — Central & Eastern Ore.
Seattle — Puget Sound / Western Wash.
Columbia — Yakima / Tri-Cities / Pendleton
Spokane — Eastern Wash. & No. Idaho
Boise — Southern Idaho
Colorado Springs — Colorado Springs / Pueblo