GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - With nearly 70,000 residents, Gulfport officials say in a major emergency, it's vital to be able to get important information out quickly. As fewer people have land lines, city workers ran tests Wednesday to make sure the Notify Me system, which sends out alerts through calls, texts and emails, is working properly.
The concern is that not enough people are signing up and getting the messages.
While road closures and boil water notices are the most common types of information Gulfport passes on to its residents, city officials said at times, the messages they need to get out are a lot more pressing.
"If there's a hurricane coming or some type of evacuation for a particular area, we can push out that notification and notify everyone really quickly," said Ryan Merrill, a Gulfport city official.
During the sign up process for Notify Me, people can customize the kinds of alerts they want from special events to upcoming public meetings. However, the city can't send anything to mobile devices unless they are registered.
"If you don't have a land line that's published then once you register, you can choose these different options and just receive what you want to receive. We're not blasting you with things you're not necessarily wanting to receive," Merrill said.
City officials say so far, only 841 people have been getting messages from Notify Me, and that has them concerned.
"It's a safe practice for you and your family to help you all stay safe, be notified and be aware of what's going on in your city," said Merrill. "This is something that's very easy and it takes just a few seconds to sign up, and once you sign up, you'll be notified as needed."
If you would like to register for Gulfport's Notify Me program, go to the city's website and look for the link on the left hand side of the home page.