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The City of Portland this morning (9/5) conducted a test of its community emergency notification system – referred to as the PublicAlerts system – in the Hazelwood neighborhood as part of National Preparedness Month. The system is one of several communication tools used by Portland to alert the public in an emergency to stay inside or evacuate an area.
The test attempted to reach 8,500 households and businesses via landline telephone, and others who had previously registered their cell phone or email address with the website http://www.publicalerts.org. About 77% of the numbers and email addresses contacted received all or part of the message. In some cases the message didn’t go through because of a busy signal, no answer or a disconnected number. The results of the test will be used to make improvements to ensure the system works more effectively if activated during an actual emergency.
For the first time a message was provided in Spanish and Russian to test the system’s ability to reach non-English speakers. Hazelwood was deliberately selected for the test because of the large number of Spanish and Russian speakers in the neighborhood.
Residents throughout Portland and Multnomah County are encouraged to visit http://www.publicalerts.org/signup to sign up to receive future notifications by landline telephone, cell phone or email.