A MILLION South Florida Homes may not get Emergency notifications
You know to dial 9-1-1 when an emergency strikes. But how are municipalities supposed to contact you and alert the more than one million South Florida households without landlines?
Over a million of the 2.1 million homes in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties operate without an installed telephone line. More are expected to cut the phone line as the trend toward mobile technology becomes more affordable, dependable, and portable.
The Florida Public Service Commission reports that AT&T had a 22% drop in home phone lines last year alone.
While many home owners may be happy to see one less monthly bill, they may not be as glad to know that it could put them at risk in times of emergency.
City and County governments are rushing to adapt alternate emergency notification modes. These programs would allow for Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts, Weather Warnings, and Emergency Breaking News to be sent to cell phones, mostly via text.
But there’s a catch – you must sign up and agree to accept data such as texts and notifications from the systems in order to receive alerts. Likewise, there are limitations as to what can be sent via mobile devices.
Apparently, the extra step is a lot to ask of most users, since Broward (AlertBroward) has only about 200 enrolled, although it has only been in operation about a month, and Palm Beach (AlertPBC) has around 4,000 since January 2017; the five-year-old system in Miami-Dade (MiamiDadeAlerts) has nearly 8,000 enrolled. But that is a minimal percentage of the active cell phones in South Florida homes.
Most county officials believe it will take additional effort to get the word out and get more citizens to register for their emergency alert services.
If you live or work in South Florida and would like to receive emergency alerts, go to your city or county’s website.
For Broward: AlertBroward, go to Broward.org/Emergency.
For Palm Beach County: AlertPBC, go to http://bit.ly/2rl1t7v.