After a year of blizzards, microbursts, floods, stifling heat and power outages, Oak Lawn is rolling out a new public notification system that will alert residents to police and fire emergencies, road closures, weather emergencies and even community events such as Fall on the Green.
The Everbridge Alert System rapidly disseminates critical information and instructions during disasters and other emergencies where regional communication systems might be damaged. Oak Lawn residents can access the Everbridge system by their cell and landline phones, the Internet and other devices.
“Over the years residents have done away with traditional phone lines and use their cell phones as their home phone,” said Kathy Hansen, director of the village’s Emergency Communications Department.
“Mobile offices and busy lifestyles have created an environment in which Oak Lawn safety officials need to have the ability to reach citizens when they’re on the go.”
The system works 24/7, 365 days a year, and can send text and voice messages, or email notifications, depending on residents’ preference. Residents can sign up for the system online.
How the System Works:
- Residents can choose the locations they want to be contacted about, including their home, their parents’ home, a workplace or a child’s school, as long as they are within Oak Lawn’s Emergency Communications 911 system, which includes Oak Lawn, Burbank, Evergreen Park and Bridgeview.
- The system will be used to notify residents about imminent threats to health and safety. Public safety officials will send alerts about emergencies such as severe weather, floods, gas leaks, or critical police activity.
- In addition to emergency alerts, residents also can register to receive community alerts for village activities, such as summer concerts and parades.
- For those who don’t have Internet access, residents are encouraged to sign up their friends, family members and neighbors to receive the service.
- If you have a landline phone, you should still register the phone number because there is a chance that traditional phone databases are not currently in the village’s system.
- The service is free of charge, but if you’re receiving emergency text messages on your cell phone, regular charges will apply.
- Residents are responsible for updating the system should their contact information change.
- The village will not sell residents’ phone numbers or email addresses to outside vendors.
Hansen said that 350 residents already have signed up for the public notification system at the program’s rollout during last week’s village board meeting.
Oak Lawn’s Emergency Communications Department will be signing up residents for the service at Fall on the Green, Sept. 9-11.