Pennsylvania announces new emergency notification system

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the launch of AlertPA, an emergency notification system that helps to provide Pennsylvanians with timely information during an urgent situation.

"When emergencies, severe weather, and other life and health threatening incidents occur, Pennsylvanians can be among the first to know by signing up for AlertPA," said Governor Rendell. "The system allows citizens to choose to be notified about emergencies and other announcements."

AlertPA is a system that helps officials quickly send emergency text and email alerts, and other important notifications, to users to assist them in making informed decisions. Individuals can register for AlertPA by going to www.pa.gov and clicking on Alerts & Advisories. Users can choose the method of notification - pager, text or email - and select what type of information they would like to receive.

Individuals can choose from a variety of alerts. Emergency alerts include information on incidents involving toxic chemicals, nuclear power plants, failure of large dams and other urgent situations. Other types of alerts include weather, warnings, public health notifications, airport delays, consumer product recalls, prison notifications and more.

In an effort to reach as many people as possible during a prison emergency, the Department of Corrections is enhancing its present notification system by using AlertPA.

"AlertPA enhances the department's present system by adding text, email and voice message capabilities," said Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard. "It will be used in conjunction with prison sirens or whistles and the automated telephone system currently used by the department."

The AlertPA Web site contains a "Frequently Asked Questions" page and a section outlining terms of services. Interested individuals should review this information to ensure they are fully informed of services the system provides and any responsibilities placed upon the user, including the need to have text messaging on their cell phone accounts.

Citizens who are interested in prison alerts, but do not have access to the Internet, may contact their nearest state correctional institution's critical incident manager to have their names and phone numbers added to the AlertPA system in order to receive voice messages.

Another way to verify an actual prison emergency is by calling the DOC's emergency message line at 1-888-316-8950. This outgoing message system will be updated as major emergencies occur.

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