Upper Arlington News

City will launch UA Alerts communication system in November


Upper Arlington expects to launch a new mass notification system early next month to alert residents about everything from emergency situations to community events.

City officials said UA Alerts, an automated communications system, is designed to provide information to all residents on an as-needed -- or as-wanted -- basis, similar to the longstanding Communicator system.

Upper Arlington Community Affairs Director Emma Speight said UA Alerts will replace the Communicator system because it provides more modern technologies which can contact people not only via landline telephones, but also by email as well as calls and texts to mobile phones.

"It is an automated contact system or outreach system that gives us a lot more flexibility and gives residents a lot more ways to get information from the city," Speight said. "We can send them phone messages, texts or emails, however they want to receive information from us."

UA Alerts is a system the city purchased from Everbridge, a Glendale, Calif.-based interactive communications and mass-notification solutions company.

The city will pay $11,550 for services in the first year of a three-year contract with the company, and $8,550 in each of the two subsequent years.

As for operations, landline numbers for all Upper Arlington addresses listed in the White Pages and Yellow Pages automatically will be stored in the UA Alerts database, and those numbers automatically will receive any emergency notifications issued by the city.

Additionally, residents and others who wish to register for customized services likely will be able to do so through the city's website, uaoh.org, by the end of October, Speight said.

Users can "opt-in" for alerts to be sent to specified telephone numbers, including cell phones, as well as to email addresses.

They also will be able to select the types of notices they wish to receive. Speight said alerts can be sent related to crime and safety advisories, fire activities, city services and recreation and other community events and updates.

Further, registrants can prioritize modes of contact, and the system will attempt to contact them via those avenues first, before moving on to alternatives.

"It's very cost-effective because we can use the system as many times as we want," she said. "It's a very sophisticated system.

"A (global-information system) is tied to this. So we can literally go in and contact a certain block of citizens."

Additional information regarding UA Alerts should be available on the city's website this month, and city officials hope to expand the system's database.

"By moving to this system, we're hoping to catch everyone in the system and then encourage them to update their (accounts) to give them notices in the (format) that's best for them," Speight said.

Additional information about UA Alerts is available by calling the Upper Arlington Community Affairs Office at 614-583-5045, or the Upper Arlington Fire Division at 614-583-5100.