The Polk County Public Safety Notification System is expanding to include telephone numbers and email addresses not currently in the county residential database. Polk County residents now can register additional telephones—including business phones and cell phones—to receive voice messages from the county’s telephone notification system. Email addresses can also be registered so that a text version of a voice message can be received.
The telephone notification system is used by the Board of County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office to inform county residents about public safety threats and concerns. The system augments existing warning systems and media reports for the distribution of public safety information. During situations which may affect the health, safety and welfare of Polk County residents, designated officials send out messages to telephone numbers and email addresses within a geographic area. When the message is sent the system will notify you, giving specific information about the current announcement.
Many residents who have home telephones are already included in the current database. To ensure that a person is on the list, especially those who have cellular or business telephones on which they would like to receive notifications, residents may register to receive notifications via their home, business or cell phone with a voice recording, or by email.
“Today, many people are using their cell phone as their home phone,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief David Cash. “We want to make sure all of Polk’s residents can get information if there is an alert.”
To register contact information, residents should go online to http://alertregistration.com/polkcofl/. Residents will be asked to provide their name, address, email address and primary and alternate phone numbers. Residents may also call 866-484-3264. Callers will be prompted for their contact information. Registration and messages are free, however, regular cell phone rates apply depending on individual cell phone plans. Cell phone text messaging is not being offeredbecause of the additional charges often added for text messages.
What kinds of things are residents notified about? Notices may include: emergency and severe weather conditions, boil water notices, missing persons, fugitive warnings, sexual offender/predatorlocation notices, crime information, rabies alerts and other public health and safety notices.
Polk County uses Firstcall Emergency Notification to send out information. Typical messages sent out in 2011 were boil water notices, rabies alerts, and neighborhood crime notices and warnings. Polk County Emergency Management will use the system in the event of hurricanes or other severe weather alerts. Most notifications are targeted to specific areas that are or will be affected by the subject matter of the notice, warning or alert.
“Currently we notify people via land line telephone,” said Paul Womble, Program Manager for Polk County Emergency Management. “Because so many people are getting away from land lines, we want to make sure they get the message at home, at work, on their cellphone or by email.”
“Once you sign up, no one else can change your information,” Womble said. “Only the person who registered can do that.”
Visit Polk County on the web, www.polk-county.net.