The Healthy Port Communities Coalition is working toward modernized Wireless Emergency Alerts for the people of Houston. A modern, cross-media approach is needed to give residents timely information about dangerous chemical releases or hazards. Today we have sophisticated, geo-targeted wireless emergency alerts for flood warnings, forest fires, and Amber Alerts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has the technology to provide these sorts of alerts. A modern alert system can reach citizens by land line, cell phone, on social media, and through conventional media such as TV news and radio. A modernized wireless emergency alert system also has the benefit of being opt-out, which means residents are signed up by default, meaning they will receive the alerts when it happens, not just if they know to sign up for the alert system.
Until the Houston area has the capacity to push alerts to its residents when a chemical or other emergency happens, some cities are upgrading their existing systems. The Local Emergency Planning Commission for the City of Galena Park just released a new text message tool for emergency alerts. Residents enter their name, phone number, and address to receive notifications about potential health or safety hazards. You can read more about the system and register to receive alerts at the link below.