Earlier this month, Seattle officials unveiled AlertSeattle, a new bulk SMS emergency alert service for residents of the city and neighboring Washingtonians.
According to local news outlet KIRO, Mayor Ed Murray explained that the new text alert system will warn citizens in a variety of situations, including earthquakes, floods or explosions. On top of just typical notifications, the new service will also send out information about what to do in each situation. Barb Graff, the Seattle Office of Emergency Management director, told local radio station KOMO that this last feature may be the most critical to public safety.
"Whether that's getting people back into damaged homes or whether that's telling them how to protect their water to make it safe, everyone is focused, unity of effort, on solving those problems," said Graff.
Graff explained that new alert program will also work in other situations, like instances of severe traffic. She offered an example where a commercial truck turned over on the highway, causing massive delays. The effects of the accident could have been mitigated with the AlertSeattle.
"We could have decreased the amount of people we had on the roads and stuck in traffic," Graff said.
AlertSeattle also boasts customization features for users. Citizens are instructed to go online in order to opt-in for the program, but from there they can customize to their liking. The minimum service available is information about emergencies that the city deems will help in the "protection of life and property." From there, added options include the aforementioned traffic alerts, power outages and notifications for other, less severe emergencies.
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