Tybee Island Announces Citizen Alert with Opt-in Program

January 22, 2010 by  
Filed under City Updates and News

Press Release by Michael Bodine

Tybee Island, GA – (December 29, 2009) Earlier this year, Tybee Island’s Emergency Management and Information Technology staff selected a dial-out notification system called Everbridge Aware. This system will be used to provide various levels of notification to residents and others interested in newsworthy events on Tybee, including non-emergency events like public hearings, urgent messages like road closes or utility repair outages, or full-blown violence or weather emergencies.

The City of Tybee has been increasing ways to keep citizens aware of events on the island. While newspaper advertising and public service announcements are the traditional way to communicate non-urgent events, avenues such as the world-wide web or local cable access television can provide more immediate and facile channels. Over this last summer, City staff added Twitter and Facebook for quick and less formal updates. The Everbridge Aware system caps off this effort with a full set of customizable notification options.

The basic notification system is pre-populated with landline phone numbers for residents and businesses provided by AT&T. Anyone included in this database will always get notification on their regular phone in the event of a major emergency, such as a hurricane evacuation order. Less urgent messages will not be automatically sent out to these telephone numbers.

The optional piece of this system allows users to select the kinds of events about which they wish to hear, and the method by which they wish to receive notification. The available notification types are: inclement weather, road closures, traffic delays, utility outages, public hearings, crime bulletins, and beach closings. The available methods include: home phone, business phone, cell phone, email, text message, or other telephone. For people with only a cell phone, or who use a digital, VOIP phone, must use the opt-in system to get notifications.

Anyone wanting to sign up for these notifications can do so by visiting the City’s web page, www.cityoftybee.org, and clicking on the “Citizen Alert – Notification Sign-up” button. The visitor will be taken to the Everbridge sign-up page where one can create a free login/password account, and then, using an easy-to-follow menu, proceed to select the types of notices and destination devices on which to receive them.

Users should be aware that they will need to acknowledge receipt of a message in order to stop the system from contacting them on every selected channel. For example, if you have asked for a phone call, an email, and a text message, you will be notified on one device after the other until you listen to the entire message and respond. On the phone, you would listen to the message and press a key to acknowledge you’ve heard the message. Once you press that key, the system will stop trying to reach you. If your phone is busy or you hang up without responding, the system will then send you an email, and finally send a text message to your phone. If you don’t answer your phone or otherwise check for messages, you can still miss an urgent notification!

CONTACT: Jimmy Brown, TEMA Coordinator, (912) 786-4573, Ext. 112

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