County Launches Emergency Notification System

Los Angeles County is unveiling a new emergency mass notification system to alert residents and businesses by phone, text, and e-mail of emergencies in their area, Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors announced today.

Called Alert LA County, the system will allow the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to activate local and regional alerts by drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded and written alerts will provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions, such as evacuations. The system is so precise it will allow the exclusion of a single home, useful in situations involving hostages or crimes in progress.

The County’s 7.1 million land-line phone numbers are programmed into the mass notification system, but the public must register Voice over IP lines, cell phones and e-mail addresses. The website may be used to register your cell phone number, Voice over IP phone number, and e-mail address with the Emergency Mass Notification System. Registration of this information can be done on the County’s website. Each telephone number and e-mail can be associated with only one street address.

If a call is picked up by an answering machine when an alert is being issued, a recorded message will be left. If the number is busy or does not answer, the number will be redialed twice. The system has the ability to detect and communicate with telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTY/TDD).

The Alert LA County system project will cost $1.97 million cost over five years, which includes the purchase of the 911 data from the local telephone companies. Land-line numbers will be refreshed on a monthly basis to ensure accuracy and numbers registered on the website will be added to the database on a nightly basis.