Residents asked to register phone numbers
Santa Rosa County Division of Emergency Management has a new emergency warning tool that provides rapid phone notifications to residents when public safety may be at risk. In the event of an emergency, GeoCast®Web will be utilized to make rapid emergency telephone notifications to residents and businesses in an impacted area. Citizens can register and manage their account including updating or deleting phone numbers online at https://santarosa.onthealert.com.
Used during time sensitive emergencies like chemical spills, hazardous materials incidents, flooding and evacuations the new GeoCast®Web phone notification system utilizes highly advanced digital mapping technologies and phone databases to automatically call registered phone numbers in a target location with a recorded message on what steps residents should take to keep their family safe. The system will also be utilized for less time sensitive but important messages, including those provided by the sheriff’s office to notify residents of crimes impacting a particular area.
Individuals may register for notifications via the county’s website, www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency, or directly through the system’s self-registration web portal located at https://santarosa.onthealert.com. All information provided by residents will be used for emergency notifications only. While Santa Rosa County offers this emergency notification service free of charge, minutes may be deducted from individual cell phone plans. Calls will typically be less than two minutes.
All listed landline phone numbers in the county will be ported into the new system. However, unlisted numbers, cell phones and some VoIP phones are not, and registration is required to receive notifications. For this reason all residents and business owners are asked to register even if their phone number may already be in the system. By doing so, a personal account is created and residents can manage their information including updating phone numbers or even deleting accounts when relocating out of the area. Citizens without home Internet access are encouraged to use the public computer resources available at one of the five county libraries.
“Ensuring timely and adequate warning to the public during times of potential or imminent danger is one of the more important jobs we have as emergency managers,” said Brad Baker, emergency management director. “We are always looking for ways to improve risk communications to county residents and businesses.”
Baker continued, “Even though we have the new emergency phone notification system, we still want to remind everyone that no single tool will provide enough warning to all people in all situations. While this new system may give us emergency officials greater capabilities, it is only one component of the overall public safety communications strategy. During emergencies, people should always seek out information on the county website at www.santarosa.fl.gov, Twitter account @SRCBOCC, and from our local media.”
The new emergency phone notification system is replacing the previous system called REVERSE 911®. The old system used 24 phone lines and could make approximately 1,240 calls per hour. The GeoCast®Web system is web based and offers enhanced warning capability with up to 6,000 calls per hour. The messages can be received by landline, cell and VoIP phones. As the system is web based, staff can send messages wherever they have an Internet connection.
More information about the emergency notification system, including an informational flyer and frequently asked questions, are available at www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency.