Reverse 911 system in New Hanover County

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - One of the first things we are taught at a young age is to call 911 in an emergency.

One thing we don't always know is how to make sure 911 can call us.

A few days ago, some New Hanover County residents were left with questions after some homes received reverse 911 calls about a missing man.

"The message is basically a human voice, and it does start off with the type of incident or the purpose of the call," said New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Smith.

The problem is, not everyone received the call, and some of the people who did weren't sure if it was a hoax.

"We don't have any land lines, because all the bills went up so high that we couldn't afford a phone," said resident Barbara Novak, who did not get the reverse 911 call.

Residents said they would welcome a phone call from reverse 911.

"I would like to know information like that, just in case our help is needed or just in case we should be staying in the house," said Novak.

"It would make me feel a lot safer," said resident Beth Harker, who also did not get the call.

According to Deputy Smith, change is coming soon.

"We certainly realize that a lot of people do not have residential phone lines, so any way we can expand that in the future is what we'd like to do," he said.

Deputy Smith added that residents with Internet access who receive a reverse 911 call can always check the New Hanover County Sheriff's web site to make sure the call is not a hoax.  The information will be posted online before calls go out.

Brunswick County residents can also take advantage of a similar program by signing up at  According to Scott Garner with Brunswick County Emergency Services, all information is secure and is only used for these types of notifications.

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