Last Wednesday, approximately 10,000 homes and businesses listed in the White and Yellow Pages were sent our first UA Alerts phone message.

Last Wednesday, approximately 10,000 homes and businesses listed in the White and Yellow Pages were sent our first UA Alerts phone message.

This marks the addition of an exciting new communications outreach tool to our toolbox that, most importantly, will allow us to quickly send out emergency updates to residents, as well as other useful city service updates and community news.

The beauty of the UA Alerts Notification System is that you can tailor the contact information we have for your household by adding in cell phone numbers and email addresses, prioritizing the order in which you wish to be notified via phone message, text and email, and selecting what type of information you wish to receive from us in addition to any emergency messages we may need to send.

We knew our first call would likely have limited success, since it was primarily targeting land lines and the call was placed in the afternoon. We were pleasantly surprise to have approximately 10 percent of the recipients confirm they had heard the message.

A good start, but obviously, there's more work to do, and for UA Alerts to be a truly useful tool for our community, we need you to do your part and get your household registered.

To do that, visit, where you can find the UA Alerts icon on the homepage under "Connect With UA." Once in the UA Alerts registration portal, you will need to provide a user name and password that you should make a note of in case you need to update your contact information at a future date.

You will be able to enter multiple points of contact (home phone, cell phone, SMS/text, email) for yourself and other members of your household for both emergency messages and standard messages from the city. You can then prioritize the order in which you'd wish to be contacted in both instances.

We have set up five standard update topics from which you can choose:

* Police crime and safety alerts: news of criminal activity in your neighborhood, missing adults or children and other useful safety information.

* Fire division alerts: fire hydrant flushing in your neighborhood, other fire or EMS related safety information.

* Construction and utility updates: detours, road closures, utility issues in your neighborhood, boil alerts, etc.

* City services and news updates: City holidays and impacts on refuse collection, seasonal services, special issues news, etc.

* Recreation and event updates: any significant community event news such as cancellations or weather delays, issues in parks, etc.

For anyone without access to a computer and the Internet, the library has registration instruction sheets available so that you can make use of their public computers, and we have a public computer station set up at the Municipal Services Center in the concourse.

A series of UA Alerts registration workshops have also been scheduled at the Senior Center Computer Lab, for the following dates:

* Monday, Dec. 3, noon-1:30 p.m.

* Monday, Dec. 10, noon-1:30 p.m.

* Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2-3:30 p.m.

* Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2-3:30 p.m.

I encourage you to do your part in making UA Alerts the success it can and should be. Take a few moments to get registered and then always remember to make sure your household profile is up to date as you change cell phone numbers and email addresses over time.

If you have any questions about the UA Alerts Notification System, please call the Fire Division at 614-583-5100.

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.