Emergency Notification Systems Catching on with Cities

The Glendale (Mo.) Police Department is encouraging all residents to register for ADT SelectLink, a rapid communication system that enables the city to deliver emergency messages to residents in a timely manner. The system will inform residents of important matters such as severe weather, criminal activity or a hazardous spill via home phone, cell phone, text message, fax or e-mail. To register, visit the city's website at www.glendalemo.org or contact...(St. Louis Suburban Journals/Dec.15, 2009).

Cities and counties are beginning to follow the lead of college and university campuses and offer computer-based emergency communications systems to their populations.

The systems allow for immediate communication with thousands of residents in cases of severe weather, criminal activity or other emergencies. Notices can be sent via email to a desktop or laptop computer, text message via mobile phone, a fax or voice message on a home phone. The messages can be sent in up to 10 different languages. The systems can also be used to notify residents of more routine matters such filing deadlines or changes in meeting schedules.

But for these systems to work well, government organizations need to gain a high percentage of signups. One way to accomplish that is to have the city, county or district pick up the total costs of the systems, said Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security Services.

“The cost of sending messages via these emergency notification systems is very low, but that still stops too many people from signing up to receive vital updates,” he said. “And during an emergency, information can be critical in helping to save lives, reduce injuries and limit property damage.”

– PSW Staff