Police Department - May 1, 2014
The city has updated its notification system to allow citizens to receive emergency and non-emergency notifications by text, email or voice on their cellphone, provided they sign up to receive notifications.
The city’s previous notification system, sometimes referred to as a “reverse 911” system, could only reach citizens with landline telephones, said Julia Conley, the information technology division manager for the Winston-Salem Police Department.
“Emergency notifications provide an important means of alerting citizens of missing persons, criminal activity or hazardous conditions, such as flooding, fires, a chemical spill or a water main break in their neighborhoods,” Conley said. “As more and more citizens give up their landlines, finding a way to reach people who only have cellphones has become an important public safety issue. The new system gives us that ability and more – but we need our citizens to register.”
The new system sends out notifications not only by phone, but by email and text, if so desired. It also gives citizens the option to receive notifications about special meetings, and about notices and news, such as reminders when garbage collection is postponed by a holiday or disrupted by a winter storm.
Citizens can sign up using the Citizen Notification System link at CityofWS.org. The system requires that users provide their address, because notifications are sent out based on where people live. Citizens can register up to four phone numbers, each with an option to receive text alerts at that number. They can also enter a primary and an optional secondary email.
A map on the sign-up page pinpoints the address entered in the system, so that citizens can verify that the system has their correct location. Once the information is entered, a verification email is sent to the primary email account, with a link to activate the account.
Citizens can update their information and adjust their notifications at any time by logging back into the system with a password that they set up as part of the process.
“We have structured this so citizens have control over their information and how it is used,” Conley said. “We urge everyone in Winston-Salem to sign up for the Citizen Notification System.”
Sign up now for the Citizen Notification System!