Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2014 --- 5:02 p.m.
The Sauk County Nixle system has been put to the test recently.
Within the past week, the Village of Prairie du Sac issued evacuation orders after a propane leak and a boil order in response to water contamination. Village officials and first responders say this serves as a reminder of just how important this system is for residents.
Village administrator Alan Wildman says, "Here in our community we have two newspapers, but each only comes out once a week."
With less than 4,000 people, Prairie du Sac has turned recently to new media in getting important information out to the public.
Wildman says, "Sometimes folks aren't near a television or radio to be able to hear those, where the Nixle nowadays with everyone with cell phones and email, they pretty much receive it instantly as soon as we send it."
Nixle is an email and phone alert system that's used in counties throughout the state, including Sauk County.
Wildman says, "Both for the boil order that we had, we instantly put it out over Nixle to alert our customers that they needed to boil the water and then we also used it yesterday (Monday)."
That's when a propane tank rupture forced evacuations at homes and Grand Avenue School. But the system can be used for a wide array of issues.
Sauk Prairie Police Chief Jerry Strunz says, "We can put out community messages that are basically low-level informational type items, for example in the past, we've used it when we had a rash of car break-ins in specific neighborhoods."
Subscribers to the free service can customize what type of alerts they want to receive and easily spread the news to others.
Strunz says, "The nice thing about it in today's day in age with the social media, once we put out a message, people will share that message over and over again."
Most counties in this area do use the Nixle system. To sign up, just go to www.Nixle.com, follow the prompts and select what alerts you'd like to receive from what agencies.