Residents of an eastern Pennsylvania township can now receive text alerts in emergency situations. 

Officials of the Chestnuthill Township announced recently that they launched a bulk SMS emergency alert system to notify citizens in relevant situations. The system is also available for outside the township, as WNEP reports that the area is frequented by commuters who may find the updates helpful.

"It's close enough. It's close enough for me and I know a lot of people out in this area that would do it. It'll be a lot easier for me because I don't always have the time to sit down and read a newspaper or go on the television and watch the news," one area resident told WNEP.

The text alert system will work in a variety of situations, such as weather issues, wild animal sightings, traffic impediments due to roadwork and emergency shelter locations, to name a few. The system can also be used for other, non-emergency situations, like large community events.

Bulk SMS is a good way to notify a large group of people quickly and efficiently. An increasing number of communities across the country are turning to text alerts as a low-cost public service they can provide to their residents. People can either text a keyword to a long code or go to the township's website to signup. Upon responding to a confirmation text, users will be subscribed for future alerts from the service.

While some residents have already signed up for the service, local officials expect numbers to spike following the announcement, WNEP reports.

Monroe County, in which Chestnuthill is located, also has a text alert system, called RedyNotifyMonroe. When used in conjunction, residents and travelers will stay informed with real-time updates during emergencies. Users must sign up separately for the county-wide program.