City officials are urging residents to sign up for Detroit Alerts 365, a new electronic emergency notification system where they can get warnings on severe weather conditions and public safety.
Hilton Kincaid, deputy director of Detroit Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the electronic alert system will notify users about floods like those that occurred over the summer.
“When these things happen, like the flooding or anything else, we can give you general information and then once we get a handle on what’s going on, there will be more specificity coming out behind that,” says Kincaid.
In addition to severe weather events, the system can quickly share critical information for situations such as public safety advisories, evacuation/shelter-in-place notices and boil water notices.
Unlike the national Emergency Alert System, receiving these messages is voluntary and people will need to sign-up to get them. Kincaid says residents can list their addresses and use geo-tracking on their phones to get alerts tailored to where they are.
“Now, we have a more flexible methodology for sending these messages out because they may not be of a national emergency. It may be just geographically specific,” he explains.
Kincaid says emergency responders will be able to follow up on alerts and give specific instructions to residents through the system. Detroit Alerts 365 can send notifications via phone calls, text and email.
Detroit Chief Information Officer Art Thompson says the system allows users to customize what notifications they receive and how those messages are delivered.
“When you go to sign up, it’s going to be our standard, ‘how do you want to receive that message?’ Text message, email. And then the application if you download it from the Android or Apple iOS store,” says Thompson.
Detroit Alerts 365 is administered by OnSolve. The Florida and Georgia-based company has a three-year contract with the city for $315,000.