Residents Switching to Mobile Phones a Safety Concern

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Reverse 911 technology has become a national staple and it continues to provide a first warning system for many emergency situations. We have shared numerous stories of how towns and cities are utilizing this great technology to make their areas safer for residents. Unfortunately, along with new technology comes the maintenance and awareness it needs to function properly. A reverse 911 system is only beneficial if the people in the area are signed up to receive the calls it puts out.

One of the biggest hurdles when implementing reverse 911 systems is the ability to access every household in the area. Furthermore, recent issues involve current users of the system who convert their primary communication method from landline to cell phone without notifying the reverse 911 system of their new phone numbers.

For Springfield, Ohio, the Wide Area Rapid Emergency Notification System (W.A.R.N) was implemented to warn residents of imminent danger. In the past, the warning system enjoyed much success reaching many residents in the area. Recently, after a message was sent alerting residents to remove valuables from their vehicles in response to increased thefts, Springfield sheriffs noticed a decreased success rate in the delivery of phone calls via the emergency system.

According to Sheriff Gene Kelly, only 70% of residents received the call and he was concerned that the remaining 30% would not be notified in the future for more serious matters such as evacuations, missing children, or hazardous chemical spills.

Sheriff Kelly explained that because residents are switching to mobile phones instead of using their landlines, they will no longer receive the warning calls. They must submit their new number into the system if they want to receive the emergency calls.

The summary of the last reverse 911 call was as follows: Some 35,400 telephone numbers were dialed and 10,744 were unsuccessful attempts. Among 80,000 total delivery attempts, 18,000 were listed as "no answers", 13,000 were listed as a "bad signal", 19,500 were "network intercepts", 3,300 did not ring and 900 were fax machines.

Those numbers are not acceptable for the Sheriff's office. Kelly is urging residents to report their mobile phone number to the system immediately. He stresses that the number will be used only for emergency purposes and will never be shared or sold.