“We know from living here in Southern California where we experience earthquakes, fires, wind storms and power outages that emergencies can happen at any time,” said Director of Public Safety and Community Relations Anne Ambrose. “Our Connect-CTY was a vital tool in getting information out during those emergencies.”
“It’s also very helpful to alert residents about upcoming road closures and traffic conditions so people can plan their routes to work, school or shopping and not be delayed,” Ambrose said. “The recent Amgen Tour of California cycling event that came to Palmdale and necessitated the temporary closure of some of our main streets is a perfect example of how Connect-CTY helps notify our residents. Information about safe and sane fireworks, likewise, was communicated to our residents through this process.”
To contact residents through Connect-CTY, the City of Palmdale uses telephone numbers publicly available from the 9-1-1 system. “However, when people move or change telephone numbers, there is a lag time before information is updated. We currently have some residential and business phone numbers that are no longer in service and we are striving to have at least one correct telephone number for each resident or business in the city,” said Ambrose.
“If you have an unpublished number or have recently changed numbers, you can go to www.cityofpalmdale.org and click the button on the left side of the page that says ‘Sign Up Now – Connect CTY,’” said Ambrose. “From there, you may update your telephone number, add a new number or email address, or correct any information. You may register up to three telephone numbers, two email addresses, and can designate if they use a TTY or TDD system. If you don’t have Internet access, you can call our office at 661/267-5181.”
Palmdale implemented the Connect-CTY service in Sept. 2008 to provide city officials the ability to communicate with residents regarding time-sensitive incidents, which may include both planned and unforeseen public safety matters.
The Connect-CTY service allows officials to record, send and track personalized voice messages to thousands of residents, businesses, and local agencies in just minutes, through a single phone call. The City can also send text messages to cell phones, PDAs, e-mail accounts, and TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired. The service requires no additional hardware to create a message; it can be used from any computer with Internet access or from a telephone, ensuring that officials can send vital messages from wherever they are located.
City administrators can target messages to an unlimited number of groups – everything from mobilizing emergency response teams to coordinating efforts within necessary agencies or volunteers. Authorized users also can use a map on the Connect-CTY system to send messages only to the residents within select neighborhoods when needed.
“With the Connect-CTY service, we have the power to quickly and efficiently reach out to residents directly concerning time-sensitive issues, such as a fire, a chemical spill, road closure or missing person,” Ambrose said. “I strongly urge residents to make sure their contact information is included or updated in the system’s database so that they are capable of receiving important City notifications at any time.”
For more information on the Connect-CTY system, call public safety and community relations at 661-267-5181.
(Information via press release from the City of Palmdale.)