Cell phone alerts in disasters


Emergency personnel announced they will unveil an updated emergency notification system capable of sending alerts by cell phone and email to county residents at the end of the month. Among the improvements to the system, which will be implemented on January 26, is a mapping system into which participants can register addresses with two cell phone numbers or email addresses to receive alerts of incidents ranging from wildfires to neighborhood crime. The updates are a step up from the current system, which sends alerts only to listed telephone numbers of landlines gathered by the county from public service providers like AT&T and Verizon, said Chris Reilly, manager of the sheriff‘s Office of Emergency Services. “This is really the only way… we’re going to be able to reach a lot more people,” he said. “People are so mobile these days—we need to change with the times.” The county also is working to develop an alert system that would track the location of cell phones of residents. Registration into the notification system is free and is restricted to residents with addresses in the county. For more information visit www.alertmarin.com.