Wellington, Fla., Prepares to Launch New Alert Notification System

CivicReady will be used to issue urgent notifications, emergency instructions, warnings, and other communications to subscribed residents via email, text message and voicemail.

by Jodie Wagner, The Palm Beach Post, Fla. / February 14, 2019

(TNS) - Hurricane season is less than four months away, and Wellington is taking steps to make sure residents are prepared.

Early next month, the village will launch a new alert notification system.

The new system, CivicReady, will replace the existing CodeRed alert system, which the village has used for about five years.

CivicReady will be used to issue urgent notifications, emergency instructions, warnings, and other communications to subscribed residents via email, text message and voicemail.

The new system features enhanced alert capabilities, allowing residents to specify how they prefer to receive messages, with options ranging from landline and cellphone calls to text messages and emails.

Non-English speakers will have the option of automatically translating messages into one of 11 languages.

"We want to make sure we have a way to get to people — either through phone calls, texts or emails — in case of emergency, especially for hurricane season," village spokesperson Liz Nunez said. "We also wanted to connect with residents about just regular events."

The village plans to target seniors with the new system, Nunez said.

Seniors are a growing segment of Wellington's population, and keeping them informed about upcoming activities through means other than social media was a priority for village administrators.

"Our seniors are not on Facebook," Nunez said. "Our seniors are not on Twitter. We're going out there on social media, and it's really helped to get the word out. But we wanted something for those who are not on those platforms. Everybody has a cellphone. Everyone can get a text. We don't want to bombard people with all those things they don't want to hear, but they will have an option to sign up for a senior event alert, or a Parks and Recreation alert, or just emergency notification."

The new system will integrate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Integrated Public Alert Warning System, or IPAWS. This system leverages national emergency communication channels such as the Emergency Alert System, NOAA weather radios, digital road signage and television broadcasts to provide area-specific alerts in times of emergency.

By integrating the CivicReady system with IPAWS, Wellington will be able to reach as many people as possible during an emergency event, Nunez said.

"This allows us to send out notifications to everyone, even if they're not signed up for our system, in case of a real big emergency," she said. "It allows us to do geo-fencing, so we can kind of draw a circle around Wellington. Anyone who comes into the village during that time will get that alert."

The village has been testing the new system, and will make a big push to get residents to sign up in the coming weeks. Registration will be available on the village's website at www.wellingtonfl.gov.

"We're committed to ensuring public safety and community awareness," Nunez said. "We think that this tool will really help us get to people who are not on our regular means of communication."

———

©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Visit The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.) at www.palmbeachpost.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.