Preparing Pampa for emergencies: City opens mobile emergency alert system to citizens

PAMPA, TX (KFDA) - The City of Pampa is taking a proactive approach to prepare their citizens for severe weather and other emergencies

The city has used the Everbridge communication system internally for years as a way to communicate between departments.

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Now, the city is taking that technology and making it available for citizens to immediately alert them to any situation, whether it's something small like a road closure or a big emergency like a tornado.

The mass notification system is a new launch to the public this year. With severe weather in full swing, the city says now is the time to sign up for it.

"It keeps our families safe, primarily," said Dustin Miller with the City of Pampa. "It's an easy tool for us to communicate."

However, since its launch a couple months ago, the city has had trouble getting people to sign up for the free alert.

"Everybody with a water account at their homes got on their water bill a place where people could go for emergency notifications," said Miller. "It just wasn't getting the response we had hoped. We were about 40 people as of mid-June."

The city then took to social media to get the word out.

"We decided to make a little video and promote it and push it a little bit and it's worked," said Miller. "We've got a lot more signed up but I still think we've got a ways to go to get what we'd like."

Miller said the city is also testing the notification system alongside weekly siren tests, with another scheduled for this weekend, and points out the convenience the system can bring when it's hard to hear sirens.

"The storm we had a few weeks ago hit so hard and so quick and the winds were so loud and the rains were so violent, a lot of people said they couldn't hear their sirens so we don't want them to just rely on that," said Miller. "This is an easier way for us to get a direct communication from the city to our citizens."

The sign-up for the alert system is available on the City of Pampa's website and will allow you to choose what notification you would like, whether it's a phone call, text message, email or more. If you have limited computer or internet access, Pampa's City Hall can also assist with sign-ups over the phone.

For Pampa officials, the system's release is a learning process the entire city can get involved in.

"There's endless possibilities that we're still learning and we want our citizens to learn with us," said Miller.

Miller also emphasized the other uses of the mass notification system, noting how it can help with serious incidents like wildfire evacuations or smaller notifications like closing the water park for weather.

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