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In the News

CAPCOG wants to triple Warn Central Texas registrations in September

Monday, September 11, 2017

A regional press conference in August kicked off CAPCOG’s effort to triple the number of residents who have registered their information at WarnCentralTexas.org to receive local warnings about emergencies happening in their neighborhood. The effort will continue regionally as local jurisdictions push outreach messaging through September as part of National Preparedness month.

“In the 2011 (Bastrop) fire, the line between emergency and full scale disaster vanished within a heartbeat,” said Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape, who spoke at the press conference. He was one of more than 50 elected, public safety and emergency management officials who attended the press conference. “We knew within a few minutes that this was not a fire we could fight. We just needed to get people out of harm’s way, and had Warn Central Texas been up and running and more active at that time we would have been more successful in evacuating tens of thousands of people more efficiently. … I speak on behalf of all the county judges in the CAPCOG region: ‘Citizens of central Texas, register today for Warn Central Texas and let’s be prepared for the next natural disaster.’”

Every landline in the ten-county region receives calls from the regional notification system CAPCOG uses; however, cellphone users must register their information to receive the same warning messages by cellphone, text message and email. Every jurisdiction in the ten-county region can use the system to share critical emergency information events, such as:

  • Evacuations from floods, wildfires or public health threats,
  • Shelter-in-place information during law enforcement or public health incidents,
  • Boil water notices or prolonged power outages, and
  • Options to receive general, non-emergency community messages.

As of August, about 60,000 people had registered to receive warning messages in the CAPCOG region, and nearly an additional 23,000 residents registered on Aug. 27 in preparation of hurricane Harvey.
“As Central Texas citizens abandon landlines, enrollment in the WarnCentralTexas.org program becomes even more important,” said Burnet County Commissioner Joe Don Dockery at the press conference. “This program is one of the most critical links available between public and local entities during an event.”

To further aid the registration drive, many local governments are conducting social media campaigns and distributing public education materials. CAPCOG has purchased banners and flyers to place inside local government offices, which are available for any jurisdiction to distribute. To join the campaign and receive digital or printed materials for WarnCentralTexas.org, contact Mason Canales or Carolyn Sudduth.

“Reaching 180,000 registrants is a lofty goal, but one this region can make,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “It is important that residents know this tool exists alongside the other many actions emergency personnel take to notify the public about what to do during disasters. If this tool can save one life, then the campaign has worked.”

CAPCOG has revamped WarnCentralTexas.org to not only promote RNS registration but serve as a resource for residents to discover how their communities distribute emergency information, so residents can stay informed whether they live in one county, work in another, and vacation in a third.

> Find more information about the regional notification system and WarnCentralTexas.org.
> Go to WarnCentralTexas.org to register for alerts.

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