Emergency Notification System
Call-Em-All; Emergency Notification System
The District has researched the emergency notification program provided by Call-Em-All (“CEA”) in further detail. As mentioned previously, CEA provides text and/or voice messaging services. There are no contracts and based on previous research, the pay-as-you-go option would be the most cost efficient and best suited to the District’s needs. The pay-as-you-go option employs a credit system, by which one credit is equal to one voice call/message up to 30 seconds in duration or two text messages. Assuming the District would be making occasional notifications to approximately 400 phone numbers, the cost would be roughly $36/notification (and slightly less if some of the communications were via text message).
There are two methods by which the phone numbers and names of the residents can be entered into CEA’s system. A file (xls, csv or text file) with all of the contact information can be uploaded to their system or the data can be entered manually on CEA’s website. Staff can prepare a contact list in one of the formats listed above based on interest solicited from residents via mass e-mails, utility bills and/or social media outlets.
The notifications can be sent via voice message or text message, or a combination of both. Voice messages can be recorded by calling CEA’s toll-free number or by uploading an audio file to their system. To use the automated calling method, the names and numbers of the residents must be entered as described above. CEA will check for invalid or duplicate numbers and staff will be able to review the list prior to sending a message. If the number is busy or there is no answer, CEA will make three more attempts. There is no charge for unanswered calls. The District can choose a number to show up on caller identification systems or it can be set up so that a CEA phone number will show up on caller identification systems. The District’s message will play if residents call the CEA number.
Text messages (of 160 characters or less) can be created on CEA’s website or from any phone. Residents must first opt-in (subscribe to the text alerts) to receive the District’s messages. The District will create a keyword and notify users of the keyword (via mass e-mails, utility billing statements, social media outlets and/or automated calls). The user will then text this keyword to CEA’s number (292929) to join the District’s group. Staff can also create a standard auto-reply to users when they have opted-in (e.g. a response of “Thank you for joining the Greatrock North Water & Sanitation District text alert group”). Please note that standard message and data rates may apply to the recipients. Text messages will come from CEA’s code 292929. Residents will be able to reply to the messages and staff will be able to view and sort the replies.
Using the CEA system, the District can make affordable notifications to its residents. All contact names and numbers are safe and secure (lists are not sold, etc.). The District can utilize real-time reports on messages that have been sent. Messages can be sent immediately or scheduled for a future time. CEA offers a free trial. They would give the District 25 free credits and we could set up a mock notification, if the board would like to see how it works.