The City of Hattiesburg has launched Hub Alerts, an alert system that can broadcast immediate text messages, voice calls and emails to registered users during a local emergency, important advisory or significant community announcement.
“Because of where we are located, Hattiesburg tends to be a hotspot for severe weather,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “When these events occur, it’s our duty to provide information that extends beyond the actual weather warning – like facility and road closures, delayed schedules for pick-up services, after-the-storm messaging and more.”
This system enables the City to send messages to registered cell phones and email addresses, in order to alert residents and businesses about safety and health subjects of concern, such as severe weather conditions, traffic disruptions, road closures, flooding conditions, power outages, important health notices, as well as significant community updates and announcements.
There are two simple ways to register: text HBURG to 888777 from a mobile phone, or visit hattiesburgms.com/hubalerts. Once registered, residents will receive a confirmation text to their mobile device. There are also additional steps for residents to customize alert settings through a user profile.
This program is a shared cost between the City of Hattiesburg and Forrest County Emergency Management District. It costs $13,000 annually and replaces the Reverse 911 program that both entities shared for several years.
“Through our research of best practices used in similar cities, this system provided the most functionality for messaging but also the flexibility of customization for the user,” said Samantha McCain, chief communications officer for the City. “We recognize that not everyone receives messages the same way. Some people want a phone call and others would rather an email or text message. This system allows for all or a combination of each.”
While the system has many modern communication capabilities, it’s important for residents to know the following:
• Hub Alerts will only be used during critical moments or when the information has a direct impact on all residents.
• This system is NOT reflective of alerts from the National Weather Alert System, and will only deliver messages via text message, voice message by way of phone calls and emails.
• All phone numbers and email addresses shared with Hub Alerts is stored securely and will NOT be shared or sold to other organizations.
This notification system is voluntary. Traditional message and data rates may apply, and residents will always have the opportunity to opt-out of the system.