By Joe Pyritz, Public Information Officer Pinal County

Country music fans will be able to stay abreast of the latest updates during Country Thunder through the Pinal Emergency Notification System (PENS),

The Pinal County Office of Emergency Management and Pinal County Sheriff’s Office along with Country Thunder are teaming together to update concert-goers before, during and after the four-day event.

Anyone who texts CTAZ2019 to 888777 will automatically and anonymously “opt-in” to receive notifications sent out by Pinal County public safety personnel.

“The PENS system from Everbridge is a great program that can help notify people about information during an emergency in Pinal County,” states Emergency Manager Chuck Kmet, “but is robust enough to be able to send out pertinent public safety information about Country Thunder, no matter where you are in the county, state or country. We will make full use of this during Country Thunder.”

“Communication during an event as big as Country Thunder is crucial to ensure everyone’s safety,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb, Pinal County. “We hope the PENS system from Everbridge makes it easy for everyone to access the information they need while they are out at Country Thunder.”

Periodic messages will be sent in the weeks before the music festival. A couple of days leading up to the gates opening, messages will be sent as needed but will be pertinent to travel and arrival at the venue and will not necessarily be emergency-type messaging. Once the gates open for the event, messaging will occur on an as-needed basis, ensuring not to overwhelm the festival attendees with frivolous or impertinent information.

Such information that can be sent during this time are:

  • Traffic around and leading up to the venue
  • Significant weather leading up to the event
  • Significant weather changes during the event
  • Site map of the venue
  • Line-up/Performance times
  • Important Phone Numbers
  • Public health messaging
  • Preparedness messaging
  • Lost/found children
  • Lost/found pets
  • Potential hazards in the local area
  • Fire prevention
  • Bee mitigation

“The messages will come from the following sources,” Kmet said, “the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Public Health, Air Quality, Public Works, Emergency Management, Florence Fire Department, American Medical Response, Pinal County PIO and/or Country Thunder. It is important to note that this will not spam subscribers with marketing and sales messages. That is not what we set the system up to be used for.”

To minimize chances for misinformation being sent out, each message will be vetted for content, clarity, accuracy, and appropriateness prior to release.

Once the event is over, final texts will be sent to close any loose ends (such as telling them to know who to contact for lost & found items) and then letting them know that messaging for Country Thunder 2019 has ended.