Puyallup sets up a new emergency alert system for residents

ByShannon J. Cortes

Apr 24, 2022

There’s a new way for the residents of Puyallup to stay informed in the event of an emergency.

The city recently launched “Puyallup Alerts”, an emergency alert system used to communicate with residents. It will notify residents of emergencies via text messages, phone calls and email notifications. It can also send messages via reverse 911 (recorded emergency messages that police and fire departments can use to reach residents by phone).

People can register on the city’s website at cityofpuyallup.org/2058/Puyallup-Alerts. They must live within the city limits or work in the city in order to receive alerts.

“This new alert system is intended to locate the way we communicate with our residents. Whether it’s a major street closure, weather alert or lahar, this system will quickly provide critical safety information to our residents,” said Kirstin Hofmann, City Emergency Manager. , in a press release.

Besides public emergencies, the alert system can also be used for “specific non-emergency situations,” Police Chief Scott Engle said in the news release. This includes things like missing persons and major vehicle accidents.

City spokesman Eric Johnson said the risk of a lahar from Mount Rainier prompted the city to establish this warning system. The fire that occurred in a cold store in August 2021 was also a factor, he said.

“There are a lot of lessons that were learned from this event,” Johnson said. “One of the lessons we’ve learned is that we really need to have our own dedicated emergency alert system.”

He said by email that they learned it was important for city officials “to have our own system that we can have full access to in an emergency.”

The alert system is separate from Pierce County ALERT. The city encourages residents to register for both. Johnson said Puyallup Alerts will benefit residents because it’s more localized.

The Pierce County ALERT system makes sense for a countywide emergency, Johnson said, but doesn’t make sense for something that only affects Puyallup.

“For example, if we have a major vehicle accident downtown that requires our police officers to reroute traffic, then we need to quickly send a targeted message to residents in that immediate area,” he said by email. mail. “Having our own system, which we can control, allows us to send these targeted messages quickly and efficiently.”

The alert system will cost the city $6,694 a year, Johnson wrote in an email.

Angelica Relente covers topics that affect communities in East Pierce County. She started as a press intern in June 2021 after graduating from Washington State University. She was born in the Philippines and spent the rest of her childhood in Hawaii.