Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa's new phone alert system replaces Reverse 911

TAMPA — Next time there's flooding, a chemical spill or a nearby hostage situation, Tampa dispatchers will be able to notify those affected within minutes.

The new Alert Tampa system, which launches today, will even allow dispatchers to text or call local residents on their unlisted cell phones, as long as residents enter their numbers online in the city's system.

Tampa officials promise they won't release the numbers to marketers or anyone else. They'll use the numbers only to alert people about events such as severe weather, closed roads, boil-water notices and crime patterns, Tampa police communications manager Donovan Maginnis said.

"It's really about getting critical information to people really fast," he said.

Previously, the department relied on the Reverse 911 system and could get out only 23 calls at a time. Tampa's phone list was outdated and didn't include most cell phone numbers, Maginnis said.

He said it's crucial for dispatchers to have cell numbers because many people use their cell phones exclusively.

With Alert Tampa, dispatchers will be able to pull up a map of the city and draw a diagram around the affected area. The people within the perimeter will receive a call that features a pre-recorded message.

"We're not going to create spam with a whole bunch of messages," Maginnis said. "It will only be stuff that they need to know."

The city's emergency management coordinator, Chauncia Willis, said Alert Tampa also will be used internally. For example, if severe weather causes large tree limbs to fall, the city will be able to call all the employees who are certified to work with chain saws, so they can clean up streets quickly.

"This is a huge deal for the city of Tampa because it's going to help the residents and businesses in so many ways," she said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

>>Fast facts

Sign up for

Alert Tampa

To subscribe to the service, go to www.tampagov.net/

alerttampa.

Tampa's new phone alert system replaces Reverse 911 05/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lost Highway: As FHP struggles to recruit, speeding tickets plummet

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The number of speeding tickets written by Florida state troopers has plunged three straight years as the agency grapples with a personnel shortage and high turnover.

    A Florida Highway Patrol Academy class in the late 1980s. Typically, graduating classes had about 80 recruits. But the most recent class has less than half that as the agency continues to struggle to fill vacancies. [

Florida: Highway Patrol]
  2. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze

    Retail

    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  3. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  4. What you need to know for Friday, May 26

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read this morning why Florida's most prized sweet corn is nearly extinct. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in

    Consumer

    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times