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Pasco to send emergency texts, emails to phones

Published:   |   Updated: June 4, 2014 at 04:23 PM

Pasco County will add a wrinkle to the emergency messages it sends to phones of residents in the event of a disaster.

The Dialogic Communicator has the capability of sending alerts to cell phones by text messaging or emails, according to Pasco Emergency Management Director Annette Doying.

The network no longer is limited to voice mails sent to traditional phone lines or phone answering machines.

“it can reach out to landlines and cell phones,” Doying said. The network can work with digital phone lines from Internet access providers, so long as the phone has battery backup power.

Registration of smartphone numbers could begin within a few weeks for people who want to receive the text or email alerts. A registration link will appear soon on the county website for the Pasco on the Alert system.

“You’re not going to get messages about every little thing,” Doying remarked, only emergency messages.

Typically such systems allow emergency managers to choose a handful of phone numbers or thousands of phone numbers for areas affected by a disaster. Or county officials can draw a shape on a computerized map to tell the dialing system the specific neighborhood or region to receive the alerts.

A recent test that included 2,012 people took less then four hours to send notifications.

“We can reach a lot of people,” Doying said. “We can leverage additional phone lines to reach more people more rapidly.”