Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
More than 10,000 people across Central Texas have signed up with the Capital Area Council of Governments’ newly updated Regional Notification System (RNS) – and friends, neighbors and relatives are encouraged to join in today http://wireless.capcog.org.
No Internet access? No problem. To register for the Regional Notification System by phone, just call toll free 866-484-3264, and you’ll be prompted for your contact information.
“It takes just 15 minutes to register on the free Regional Notification System, but the benefits last forever,” said CAPCOG Homeland Security Task Force Chair Johnny Campbell of Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Services. “People want to be in the loop if a large emergency or major incident were happening in their area or a loved one’s area, and the RNS helps make that happen.”
CAPCOG’s system, formerly called the “Emergency Notification System,” previously was limited to telephone calls to people that were included in the 9-1-1 database and to those who had registered their cellular telephones on CAPCOG ENS. The new RNS includes capacity to send messages by email or text and – eventually – Twitter and Facebook. Residents can register their cellphones, landlines, email addresses, pagers and other devices that receive text-based messages.
The improved system also will allow local officials to send a wider range of notifications. The previous system could only be used in situations in which life and property were directly threatened. Instead, the upgrades permit delivery of messages that may not comprise an emergency but nonetheless are important to public health, well-being and convenience. These could include restrictions on water usage, traffic disruptions due to major events and weather-related cancellations of public events.
How has the CAPCOG Regional Notification System helped Central Texans? Some examples:
During the Labor Day wildfire outbreak of 2011, the CAPCOG RNS was used to make telephone calls to more than 9,000 residences and businesses in Bastrop, Travis, Fayette, Caldwell, Hays and Burnet counties to warn of the danger posed by rapidly moving wildfires.
The system has been used on numerous occasions to instruct residents to lock their doors and remain inside in the area of an ongoing law enforcement SWAT operation.
The system has been used to notify persons in the path of floodwaters to take immediate action to protect lives and property.