Austin’s Emergency Notification System Goes Cellular
published on August 22, 2011
As our reliance on different technologies grows and changes, so must the systems that provide the infrastructures that keep people safe and secure. This spring, the Central Texas area became a little safer when the Capital Area Council of Governments added cell phone notifications to their Emergency Notification System. This system warns people in the area of an emergency through an automated phone call set up by participating local governments.
Since 2004, when CAPCOG received grant funds from homeland security programs, the reverse dialing system has been used “to notify members of the public of critical emergency information in situations where property or human life is in danger,” but has, until recently, only automatically contacted homes with land-lines. Now, area residents who rely mostly on their cell phones can just head to the CAPCOG website and set up alerts so that they will automatically be called when danger is afoot – kind of like a giant bat signal, just a bit less ominous.
Flooding and wildfires caused by drought are Central Texas’ two major natural disaster concerns (nobody ever said Texas wasn’t a state of extremes), but the service also covers other “disasters” in life, such as crime issues (the service has been used to catch a bank robber), boil water notices, and Amber Alerts.
This new addition to the service certainly would’ve been highly beneficial to Southwest Austin home owners, had the cell phone addition been more widely known, since many who were recently struck by the April wildfire in Oak Hill weren’t home when the land-line notices went out. The moral of that unfortunate story is that in order for the service to work, cell phone users must take the initiative and set up the system themselves. So, if you’re currently looking at Austin homes for sale, this is a quick and easy way to protect your investment, once you’ve made that important purchase.
The CAPCOG webpage allows you to both register your cell phone and make changes once you’ve already registered. Users can place an alert on multiple locations, including their home, place of business, or other location of concern, as long as it falls within the CAPCOG service area, which includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Fayette, Lee, and Llano Counties.
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