Harris County Residents Can Receive Emergency Alerts Via Wireless Phone

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What's a landline? Many residents are choosing to rely on just wireless phone service for everything they do. The Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network is recommending residents register their wireless numbers to have the same access as landline phones.

Until now, residents living in the 49 city 911 network could only access the Emergency Notification System with a landline phone. Now, cell and internet phones can be contacted.

Sonya Lopez-Clauson is with 911. She says anyone can call 911 to report an emergency, but now 911's Emergency Notification System can call cell phones.

"We have a very accurate 911 data base that provides all of our land line phone numbers in it. If a jurisdiction, let's say the city of Bellaire or the city of Houston, needs to notify a small localized area about an emergency, they could then contact all of those residents about that incident. But now, we can contact cell phones."

ENS registration screenshot
ENS registration screenshot

Landline numbers used to be the norm when the 911 network was set up more than 20 years ago but:

"Many people are no longer using land line home phones and we know this, because we are even receiving an increasing number of calls to 911 from cell phones. Over 80 percent of our calls to 911 now are from cell phones."

Examples of "localized" emergencies include things like threatening weather,  missing or dangerous persons, or environmental emergencies.

Clauson says their landline network will not change, but they're now able to include wireless service.

"It's really easy, all you need to do is go to 911.org, see the great big sign up button, and follow all the instructions to fill out our address and cell phone information."

All land line phone numbers — residential or business — are already available without registration. To register you cell phone, visit www.911.org.

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Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...