‘Notify NYC’ Program Expanded Citywide

May 21, 2009 Updated: May 21, 2009

NEW YORK—Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno announced expansion of the Notify NYC program on Monday, which will provide emergency information and advisories through email, text, and phone messages across the five city boroughs.

“Starting on May 28th anyone will be able to sign up for neighborhood-specific emergency alerts on their cell phone, email, or home landline,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“You can be just about anywhere and receive instantaneous information about events of concern in your community, or any other area of the City. Many New Yorkers have this technology in their pockets, and I’m glad that their government can now supply them with timely emergency information,” he continued.

New York City residents in all five boroughs will be able to register multiple email addresses, text message accounts and phone numbers to receive Notify NYC notifications regarding events in up to five zip codes.

Subscribers will receive emergency alerts related to the most severe emergency events, such as AMBER Alerts and natural disasters. The system will also provide optional Public Health Notifications and the Significant Event Notifications, which include advisories about less severe emergency events such as brush fires, extended disruptions of mass transit services and major utility outages. The program will offer non-emergency advisories about unscheduled suspensions of alternate side parking rules and public school closures and delays.

Notify NYC is part of the City’s efforts to improve public communication during emergencies, as recommended by the World Trade Center Health Panel Report. The program will integrate information and technology services for multiple City agencies to deliver a comprehensive advisory notification system to the public. The City has also implemented the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Emergency Public Information Plan (EPIP), which is managed by OEM to improve the coordination of public information during major emergencies.

“One of the most basic ways we can make government more effective is to utilize every method at our disposal to get information out to New Yorkers during an emergency,” noted Speaker Quinn. “Whether we’re talking about power outages or other emergency situations, Notify NYC will allow people to make the best decision based on up to the minute alerts,” she added.

The Notify NYC messages will be generated by OEM’s 24-hour Watch Command. Alerts will also be posted at www.nyc.gov and distributed to 311 and 911 workers to ensure accuracy, timeliness and consistency of information.

Since implementation of the pilot initiative in December 2007 in the lower Manhattan, northeast Bronx, Rockaways, and southwest Staten Island neighborhoods, OEM has sent over 70 emergency notifications and alerts to approximately 12,800 subscribers. Participants provided feedback through surveys, customer service emails and calls to 3-1-1 to evaluate efficiency, effectiveness and value of the offered services, leading to the citywide expansion.

Pre-registration for the citywide program is available on www.nyc.gov. Participants of the pilot program will receive an automatic reminder on May 28 to enroll in the expanded version. Registration is voluntary, and collected personal information will remain confidential and will not be used for purposes other than sending Notify NYC messages.