A smart and safe download

EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE/ The Telegram and Gazette

A free smartphone app is worth the minute or so it takes to download, especially considering it could prove invaluable.

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis is encouraging area residents with smartphones to download the Ping4Public Safety app, available at www.worcestercountysheriff.com or www.ping4.com.

The sheriff’s office recently replaced the 5-year-old Reverse 911 notification system with the Ping4alerts system, saying it is speedier, more efficient and less expensive.

The system can cover everything from natural disasters and terrorist attacks to missing persons, traffic tie-ups and severe weather.

Superstorm Sandy kicked off the shift to the newer technology by causing a roof leak that harmed the Reverse 911 system.

Mr. Evangelidis knows people don’t want a flood of messages and says his office will be careful not to overuse the system. That’s wise, because unless alerts are relevant and rare, they will become annoying and ignored.

For many of us, cellphones are almost always at hand. You never know when the message you read on it will be one you particularly need. So, take the sheriff’s advice and get the app. There’s no cost, and it puts in your pocket a way to stay in the loop when public safety issues arise.