By George Slaughter
Katy city and area residents and businesses are being encouraged to enroll in an automated alert notification system that will send emergency and official city information through email, text, and voicemail messages.
Residents can enroll through the emergency notification page on the city’s website, cityofkaty.com.
With this new system, city officials can post weather alerts for area flood advisories and warnings, flash flood warnings and watches, and flood advisories and warnings. The system also enables alerts for fire weather warnings, hail alerts, severe thunderstorm warning and watches, and tornado warnings and watches.
Residents can also receive city information and event notices through the system.
When a resident enrolls in the system, he or she can set hours in which alert messages would not be received. In this way, a resident could, for example, not receive messages when sleeping at night.
City Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Goedecker said that presently, landline telephone numbers of residences and businesses within the Katy city limits have already been put into the alert notification system. However, he said, not everyone uses landline telephones today, and as the city grows, it becomes less likely that new homes will have land lines and more residents will use their mobile phones instead.
Goedecker said the information gather is and will be secure.
“It won’t be sold off,” Goedecker said. “It won’t be shared with anybody.”
Goedecker and city officials realize that despite the obvious benefits of this system, not everyone feels comfortable with enrolling online. He said paper forms will be available at City Hall and other city buildings for citizens to complete and return.
Goedecker said that while the system was not an end-all, be-all setup, it was another tool in the toolbox.
Goedecker said Fort Bend County, Harris County, the Harris County Flood Control District, and the City of Houston also use this system. Those wishing to receive alert messages from those entities must enroll through those entities.