Brazos Co. Residents Can Now Receive Emergency Notifications Via Cell

In major emergencies knowing what's going on can be critical for your safety.

And it's as simple as an automatic call.

Brazos County emergency responders are using technology to keep the public informed as many of us continue to drop our landlines during this wireless age.

Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime.

That was the case in July 2009 when the El Dorado Chemical Plant caught fire forcing thousands to evacuate in Bryan.

The Brazos County Department of Emergency Management has been providing pin point notifications on landlines since 2003 but cell phone service just started last month.

It gives peace of mind to College Station mom Melinda Marshall, who thinks she might sign up.

"It would be nice to be in the know and to know what's going on especially with little kids and especially in emergency situations," said Marshall.

She like much of the population now makes her cell phone their only phones.

"My cell phone is always on me," she added.

Whether you are receiving the messages via a landline or cellphone, there is a weakness to the system. It only works if you sign up.

"All the phone numbers that are registered into the system pop up on the screen," demonstrated Michele Meade, Brazos County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator.

With just a mouse click the message can go to any particular place in Brazos County.

"Our system is utilized for hazardous materials situations, planned or unplanned utility outages, lost persons such as juveniles or seniors that are missing, and those types of things," said Meade.

College Station mom Lara Clark also wants to know more keeping her family safe and prepared.

"Anything that could potentially be an emergency, so we can be prepared for it," said Clark.

In recent weeks only about 140 people have signed up but emergency planners hope the media and web will have more people hearing these calls.

Once on the list, you'll receive a short pre-recorded message on rare occasions.

It's important to note you do have to follow a prompt when you answer your phone, as the message will not automatically play. The phone number calling usually shows up as (979) 862-8170 on caller ID.

There are no immediate plans to provide a text message due to the costs for texting.

To sign up online, please see the link below.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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