New alert sign going up in Ashland

HANOVER , VA (WWBT) – People living and working in the town of Ashland will soon have a new way to get emergency information.

A flashing alert sign is going up at the intersection of Route 1 and 54. It will connect Ashland to Hanover's emergency radio station.

Six signs are already placed along some of Hanover's busiest thoroughfares. The goal is for as many people as possible to see them when there's an emergency. Fire and EMS authorities believe putting a sign in Ashland will help a lot.

When Hurricane Isabel ripped through the area in 2003, Hanover County Fire and EMS had no way to communicate with people.

"We didn't know how to get in touch with them; we were trying to use emergency call back and stuff like that through 911," said Hanover Fire and EMS Chief Willie Jones.

Afterwards, the Hanover AM 1700 radio station was built with Homeland Security grant funding. The station plays general information all the time, but also serves as an emergency alert system.

"It's similar to the highway signs, but this has local Hanover in mind," said Jones. "We try to put them at our busiest highways and intersections, so if something happens, you can see there is an emergency, you see the yellow flashing, tune to AM 1700."

That option will soon be available in Ashland when a sign goes up at the intersection of Route 1 and 54.

"Anybody who knows Ashland, knows that's out main thoroughfare; that's where the majority of people coming and going from work are doing business in town are going to pass through and see," said Lt. James Shelhorse of the Ashland Police Department.

The Ashland Police Department has been trying to increase communication by reaching out through social media and these emergency signs. Town authorities will now be able to use AM 1700 to send out emergency information and traffic alerts.

"This is a great product for the people of Ashland to see, 'hey there's something going on;' it could be as simple as a railroad track is blocked because they are working on the system, but we can add that to our daily programming," said Jones.

The new sign in Ashland was made possible through a donation from Nextera Energy Resources, which has a location in Doswell.

If you're unable to tune in to AM 1700, you can call 365-1700 to hear any emergency messages.

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