NYC Emergency Management Notify NYC Program Announces Ten Year Anniversary

During the past decade Notify NYC has introduced multilingual messaging, customized features and launched a new mobile application.

New York City’s official emergency communications program has been informing New Yorkers for more than a decade. Notify NYC, the city’s free, official source for information about emergency events and important city services, celebrated its tenth anniversary on December 10. Since its launch in 2007, Notify NYC has expanded its alert and notification systems, introduced multilingual messaging and customized features, and launched a new mobile application.

“Notify NYC is one of the best ways to stay informed about emergencies here in the city. From winter storms, to transit disruptions, public health hazards, and terrorist attacks, the program has been providing critical information for 10 years,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “If you haven’t subscribed or downloaded the app, I recommend that you do so, because an informed New Yorker is a prepared New Yorker.”

Notify NYC started as a pilot program in December of 2007 as a means to communicate localized emergency information quickly to city residents. The program expanded citywide in 2009, offering two types of emergency messages: “alerts” that provide time-sensitive emergency information, and “notifications” that serve as informational advisories about city services. Notify NYC subscribers can now receive alerts in seven ways: phone, email, SMS, fax, BlackBerry PIN, Instant Messenger, and Twitter. Users can sign up to receive notifications based on up to five addresses. For additional privacy, users may input an intersection rather than an address and are not required to provide their name when signing up. Notify NYC also offers nine notifications types:

  • Emergency Alerts – messages about life-threatening events that may require immediate action. All registrants are automatically added to this list.
  • Significant Event Notifications – important information about emergency events, utility outages and other types of high-impact events in your area code.
  • Public Health Notifications – information about important public health issues in your community.
  • Public School Notifications– updates about unscheduled public school closings, delays, relocations, and early dismissals.
  • Unscheduled Parking Rules Suspensions – updates about unscheduled suspensions of citywide parking rules.
  • Major Mass Transit Disruptions – messages about large or widespread mass transportation disruptions.
  • Major Traffic Disruptions – messages about significant roadway closures, disruptions, or detours.
  • Waterbody Advisories – messages about combined sewer overflow (CSO) activity in New York City's waterbodies.
  • Beach Notifications - information from the NYC Department of Health and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation regarding the status of NYC beaches.

Notify NYC also introduced new multilingual messaging to offer common notifications in 13 languages (including English), American Sign Language (ASL), and audio formats. The pre-scripted messages are available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Yiddish, and provide Non-English speaking subscribers with a link to pre-scripted messages on important emergency information.

 

Earlier this year, NYC Emergency Management and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) launched the Notify NYC app – the City’s first emergency notification mobile application. In addition to the traditional saved addresses functionality, the app provides information based on a user’s location and offers several features including: a “receive all” mode that allows users to access all emergency notifications regardless of location or topic, and a “map” feature that provides detailed information about the locations of emergencies in relation to a user’s location. The Notify NYC mobile app is available for free download from iTunes or Google Play. Search for “Notify NYC.”

Notify NYC is just one way the City of New York seeks to communicate urgent information to its residents. In addition to sending e-mails, text messages, tweets, and phone calls, NYC Emergency Management has the ability to activate NYC’s Emergency Alert System (EAS), which sends information immediately via television and radio, and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), which send critical emergency updates to all equipped cell phones in NYC.  To date, Notify NYC has issued more than 9,750 notifications about local emergencies, and more than 630,000 New Yorkers receive alerts and notifications. To learn more about the Notify NYC program or to sign up, visit NYC.gov/NotifyNYC , call 311, download the free mobile application, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

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