New community emergency and alert service for Royal Oak residents – Daily Tribune

Royal Oak this week rolled out a new system to notify residents of emergency hazard alerts and timely notifications on everything from road closures to snow removal information.

“It has been operational since Monday,” City Manager Paul Brake said. “We used it for the first time with the recent snow crisis. This is for relevant information that residents can use.

Brake credits Judy Davids, the city’s community engagement specialist, with setting up the new system.

Hundreds of residents signed up for the city’s information service after it was posted on the city’s Facebook page, but officials want to educate more residents about the service.

People can sign up for emergency alerts and community notifications on

Resident Janice Wagman, who often advocates for older people’s issues in Royal Oak, is among those who signed up.

Until now, Wagman said, the city has primarily used its own social media pages and website to post timely and newsworthy information for residents.

“Unfortunately, many seniors in Royal Oak do not have internet access or only use it to check email or social media for family updates,” Wagman said. “This system will not just send text messages and emails, but will make phone calls to their cell phones or landlines. This is a huge improvement for socially isolated and technically challenged seniors in our city. »

The Civic Ready system is integrated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Warning System (IPAWS), which is operated in Royal Oak through the police department, Brake said.

In the past, the city only delivered major police or fire related emergencies

But now, city officials said, residents can also receive urgent notices of water main breaks in their neighborhoods, road closures, power outages or even event cancellations caused by the weather situation.

“These are messages that aren’t necessarily emergencies for the whole community,” Davids said. “But people want to know that stuff and more, like when leaf or trash pick-up dates change in their neighborhood.”

The information system will have more impact as more people sign up, she added.

By next year, city officials hope to be increasingly strategic in targeting information to residents of specific areas or neighborhoods on issues such as when they can expect hunts- snow in their streets.

Other topics, such as when a resident’s neighborhood should be part of the city’s sidewalk replacement program, will also be included in urgent community messages.

The information can be distributed via an email application, SMS or landline phone messages.

Residents who sign up for the Community Alerts and Notifications program provide their street address and preferred method of contact.

Royal Oak Police are responsible for the system and none of the information is shared with third parties, Brake said.

Residents will only receive notifications when updates are requested, city officials said.

People can register using a parent’s, grandparent’s or relative’s address so they can be aware of situations that may affect older family members, said Davids.

“When the last power outage we had, Barton Towers (senior apartments) was without power for days,” Davids said. “With this system, we could have messaged them based on their preferences with tips for staying safe during the outage. We are trying to be an aging community on site and we realize not everyone is on Facebook.

Wagman said she had no problem signing up for the new news program.

“It worked perfectly during the recent snowstorm,” she said, though she plans to lobby for the city to give seniors a phone number so they can call and sign up. if they don’t have internet access. “It is certainly a useful system for keeping all residents informed, as it brings important and timely information to them using their preferred means of contact, rather than forcing us to search for it on the internet.”

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