Many of you are probably trying not to think about the upcoming winter season but the City of Sioux Falls is hoping future snowflakes are on your radar. The City is launching a new snow alert text messaging system today.
Snow-filled days are not far away and if you’re pushing to know where the plows will be during a snow alert, Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith says a new texting system can keep you informed.
“We do the best we can to let people know, ‘hey the plows are coming get your cars off the street.’ This is just a great way to do that,” Smith said.
To opt into the new text alerts, send “SNOWALERT” to 888-777. Messages will only go to people who have signed up to receive them.
“People live on their cell phones these days. However we can best connect with our public through alerts and notifications and engagement, mobile phones is an easy way for us to get messages out. When snow comes, it’s easy to see outside but it’s important to remember move your cars, drive safe and be prepared,” T.J. Nelson with the Mayor’s office said.
The City made the switch to this new system because the old version wasn’t equipped to handle a large number of subscribers.
“So our legacy system takes about four hours sometimes to push out 12,000 text messages. Our new system takes about an hour for a million, if we ever get to that point. It’s going to be a lot more efficient, more timely and just a better user experience for everyone who wants those alerts to their phone,” Nelson said.
The new vendor is Everbridge Emergency Notification System. Smith says Florida uses it for emergency alerts during hurricanes or other emergencies. If you are one of the 12,000 people who signed up for the old text messaging system you’re already part of the new program.
“We want to start notifying the city about how they can be ready and be prepared for that, unfortunately, oncoming snow,” Smith said.
The City of Sioux Falls will pay roughly $44,000 a year for the text alert system. This next spring, you can opt in to more alerts concerning park activities, road construction and mosquito spraying.