Sign Up For Alerts From The Connecticut Emergency Notification System

October 26, 2010

As a husband, a parent, a business owner and a state legislator, I want to know that I can be quickly notified in the event of an emergency that affects the important people in my life. Thanks to modern technology, that is now possible.

In September 2009, Connecticut became the first state to put in place an emergency notification system that allows government officials to alert citizens when something happens that we need to know about. However, in order to take full advantage of CT Alert ENS (Emergency Notification System), you need to a take a few minutes to go online and register. Registration notifies the state Department of Public Safety and the state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security – which together manage the alert system – about the locations you most care about, and how best to reach you in the event of an emergency that affects those locations.

To learn more, visit www.ct.gov/ctalert. There, you will find a great deal of information about CT Alert ENS, including the answers to frequently asked questions. For example, the system is used by state and local 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centers and some state agencies to provide information during emergencies. However, some towns choose to rely on their existing emergency notification systems to provide information about local emergencies instead of using CT Alert ENS. Residents of communities that do not use CT Alert ENS may still register for alerts issued by the State of Connecticut and by neighboring 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centers when something happens in your geographic area. In other words, you should consider registering with CT Alert ENS even if you do not live in a participating town.

Registering for CT Alert ENS is quick and easy, and the advantages of doing so are obvious if you rely on a variety of devices to communicate, such as a landline, e-mail and a cell phone. CT Alert ENS relies on the state’s Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) database to notify the public about life threatening emergencies, but that database includes only traditional, landline, phone numbers. Registering with CT Alert ENS allows users to sign up for alerts via cell phones; voice over IP landlines; text messaging or instant messaging; e-mail; fax; and wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) such as a Blackberry. When registering, you can specify the order you want CT Alert ENS to use when attempting to contact you; in other words, if the situation is critically important, the system may cycle through your devices in the order you specify until the message is delivered.

Furthermore, registering with CT Alert ENS allows users to sign up for alerts about emergencies that affect a certain number of locations in the state. For example, you might decide you want to be notified about emergency situations at your children’s school, your parents’ home, and your spouse’s workplace. The choice is yours.

You should know that those who register with CT Alert ENS are responsible for any costs associated with receiving texts, phone or other messages through the system.

As always, I urge constituents to contact me with their questions and concerns, or to discuss issues that are important to Connecticut. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected]