Sheriff urging peoplle to sign up for Emergency Alerts

For those of you that live and work in Los Angeles County, the below announcement just came from the LA County Sheriff Dept.

Residents/Businesses Urged to Sign Up For Emergency Alerts

With the renewed threat of rainstorms, Los Angeles County officials today urged residents and businesses to sign up for emergency alerts by registering their cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the website.

The County?s emergency mass notification system, called Alert LA County, has the capability to use phone, text and e-mail messages to alert residents and businesses when there is an emergency situation in their area and advises of needed actions, like evacuations.

The system was activated 25 times between Jan. 18 ? Jan. 22 due to rain, flooding and mudslides, with some warnings going to as few as 34 people and some to as many as 513.

All landlines are already included in the system, but people must register their cell phone numbers, Voice over IP phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. This information can be added on the website.

Because the Alert LA County system uses geomapping, each telephone number and/or e-mail address can only be associated with one street address in the system. The Sheriff?s Emergency Communications Center uses the system to issue local and regional alerts, drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded alerts provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions.

If calls are picked up by an answering machine, the system will leave a recorded message. If the number called is busy or does not answer, the system will redial the number in an attempt to deliver the message. The system is TTY/TDD compatible.

Until implementation of Alert LA County in May 2009, the County had no consistent way to contact residents and businesses in case of regional or local emergencies.

The notification system improves the County?s ability to communicate faster, better and more reliably, providing the ability to target messages and follow-up information to residents in affected areas, and reduce the potential for miscommunication by distributing accurate and consistent messages.