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Thursday, April 10, 2014

System of text alerts set up for cell phone users


LSI Corp. employees have set up a text-messaging alert system so Greensburg residents can stay informed about what's going on in town.

So far, about 100 people have signed up for the service. The subscription to the messaging system is free, though regular charges and fees from cell phone providers will still apply.

Wichita residents Paula Stout and Patty Crowell, who work at LSI, and Greensburg resident Kim Gamble started the program Tuesday evening after they saw a need for better communication.

"As you can imagine, there is almost no communication method for getting urgent information to those who need it as they are working to dig out from the tornado damage," Stout wrote in an e-mail.

On Thursday, Stout sent out messages letting people know that the high school track coach needed team members' shoe sizes, giving instructions on how to get volunteers to help clean up debris, and reassuring residents that no one will remove debris from their property without consent.

"They will be receiving messages about town hall meetings, sport events, graduation, weather warnings and any other pertinent information," she said.

To subscribe, text "RANGER" to 25827. To unsubscribe, text "STOP" to the same number.

Information for Greensburg residents

The Kansas Emergency Management office released this information Thursday for residents of the Greensburg area:

• There will be a town hall meeting at 5 p.m. today at the white tent west of Greensburg's Davis Park. City, county, state and FEMA officials will answer residents' questions.

• A curfew remains in effect for Greensburg from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Residents may enter the city at checkpoints on U.S. 54 east and west of town during the day, but must leave the city by 8 p.m.

Residents are permitted to bring trucks, trailers and tow trucks into Greensburg. Residents may also bring contractors they have hired to assist them. However, contractors that have not been hired by residents or businesses in Greensburg will be turned away at the checkpoints.

• The churches of Greensburg will hold a nondenominational church service at 11 a.m. Sunday in Davis Park.

• In case of hazardous weather, residents can seek shelter at these locations:

The basement of the Kiowa County Courthouse, the west basement of the Kiowa County Hospital and the basement of the Best Western motel on the west side of town.

There is a working storm siren in the city of Greensburg.

• Child car seats are available through the Kiowa County Health Department. Call 620-338-4544 for more information.

• Greensburg City Administrator Steve Hewitt has announced that the city will not be holding back any portion of residents' insurance payments. For more information, contact the temporary city hall located southeast of the Kiowa County Courthouse.

• For information about animal-related issues, to report stray animals, inquire about a missing pet, or report a dead animal for pickup, call 620-723-2897.

• There are no plans in the near future to bulldoze or otherwise disturb private property. Recovery workers are clearing utility rights of way in an effort to restore water and power to the city.

• A hotline has been established for Greensburg-area residents to obtain further information about the emergency effort and city plans. The numbers are 620-723-3134 and 620-723-3075.

• Residents and volunteers can now use free phones set up by AT&T on the west side of the courthouse.

• No burning is permitted in the city of Greensburg. Residents should sort and stack debris at the curb. Household hazardous wastes -- such as paint, thinners and other chemicals -- should be separated from other debris for pickup.

• The Kiowa County 911 Center is back in service. Dial 911 for emergencies only.

• The Kansas National Guard's Expeditionary Medical Support System is deploying to Greensburg to provide medical equipment and operating space.

Twelve trucks have been loaded with the pre-packaged units at the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Topeka. They are expected to arrive by 1 p.m. today. The temporary hospital will be established on U.S. 54 across from the John Deere dealership. The system was first used for relief operations in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

• Information is being broadcast on the radio, AM 1610, the Greensburg public information channel.

Amanda O'Toole

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