Portland emergency services are trying to get people to sign up for an improved emergency alert system.
The old system suffered from several issues, including one test where less than one percent of registered devices received a message.
People can sign up for the system by going to PublicAlerts.org and putting in their address, email and cell or home phone numbers. Then, for example, if a local company accidentally releases chemicals or there’s a boil-water warning, people will be informed.
The old system was buggy. In 2014, an armed man was loose for hours in Southwest Portland and many residents weren’t notified.
Dan Douthit with the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management said they’re now signed up with a new vendor. “We believe that we have improved on the system. That we have better procedures in place, and that the issues that occurred previously won’t be an issue in the future.”
The new system works in 11 languages and residents can indicate if they have additional needs during an emergency when they sign up for the notifications.