Monday, March 25, 2013

NotifyJOCO is Up and Running

Several years ago the Overland Park Police Department utilized a mass notification system which was labeled “reverse 911”. The technology at the time allowed dispatchers to send out a prerecorded message to certain residential or business phone numbers alerting people to crucial information which may affect them.

As cell phone technology advanced and more people were replacing their land-lines with cell phones, “reverse 911” was no longer an optimal choice to notify people.

In late February, a new county-wide notification system was launched. Overland Park, along with government and utility agencies including Johnson County, Lenexa, Mission Hills, Olathe, Prairie Village, Shawnee and Water One, is participating in NotifyJoCo, a free public notification system that communicates emergency information through phone, text and email messages.

Sean Reilly, Public Information Officer for the City of Overland Park, says that by using contact information, officials from Overland Park and other participating agencies can notify the public about issues affecting certain locations.

Initially, to develop a contact list, officials have purchased a list of about 140,000 telephone numbers in Johnson County. However, that does not include everyone’s phone number.

To ensure you are included, you must either verify or submit your information.

You will be asked to provide your contact information, which will remain confidential. You will then be prompted to identify the locations you are concerned about including home, work or your child’s school. (Local school districts have their own separate notification system).

To sign up, visit the city’s website at www.opkansas.org, and search “notify” or visit www.notifyjoco.org. If you do not have computer access, call 913-895-6000.

All contact information provided will be kept confidential.