NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Hurricane season starts June 1 and New Hanover County is fully capable of email and text alerts when the Emergency Operations Center is established, but the capability changes for events that are not countywide.
Vital information from the EOC can be shared with citizens through email or text message if they sign up for "emergency information" updates. The service is available through the county's website, but it misses two components.
One is any emergency considered more local, like a gas leak or police stand-off. If the EOC is not operational, there is no update to send.
Two is the sign-up system. Nowhere in the description of the 4me sign-up system are the words "reverse notification."
The county cut off the service, according to emails circulating among county staff members. It even appears the county declined an offer from the City of Wilmington for an automated sign-up system at one point.
Instead the county relied on a manual entry method, which was discontinued. Some staff members refute these claims in other emails.
"We are working with our vendor towards implementing a self-registration system, which will allow residents to provide their cell phone, VoIP, and unlisted numbers," said New Hanover County spokesman Charles Smith.
New Hanover County has an actual reverse 911 system that covers 47,000 land lines. The population of New Hanover County exceeds 200,000 people.
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