GULFPORT -- Harrison County residents now can register their cell phones to receive text messages and voicemails in emergency situations.
“A lot of people’s home phone is now their cell phone,” said Rupert Lacy, emergency manager for the county. “So we wanted to make sure they can get the information if there is an alert.”
The county uses Firstcall Emergency Notification to send out information, including weather alerts and police emergencies. For example, the county sends messages when there are freeze warnings or dangerous river stages. Gulfport police sent out a message when a man shot two people last month in Orange Grove and then went on the run. The Sheriff’s Department has used the notification system if a prisoner breaks out of jail.
Now residents are able to also list their cell phone numbers, Lacy said.
“If we have to send out an alert, the way it used to happen is through the land line,” he said. “Because so many people are getting away from land lines, we want to make sure they get the message.”
At the company’s web site, people will be asked to provide their name, address, email address and primary and alternate phone numbers.
“Once you sign up, nobody else can change your information, “ Lacy said. “Only the person who signed up can do that.”
Lacy said the county can send information to everyone or just to people in a certain area.