By Tamas Mondovics

In its continued effort to inform residents about emergencies and certain non-emergency events Hillsborough County launched a new service now named, HCFL Alert.

“Since we are still in to the hurricane season this is a great opportunity to launch our new emergency alert system for Hillsborough County,” said Emergency Management Director, Preston Cook during last month’s launch event.

Cook was joined by County Commissioner Sandra Murman and County Administrator Mike Merrill to be among the first to sign up for the service.

“Now I will be completely connected with any alert, any information that Hillsborough County want our residents to be connected to,” Murman said after taking less than three minutes to register for the service online.

While signing up himself, Merrill added, “This is just another provision residents don’t have to worry about, but will help them to be prepared or to be ready.”

The new mass notification system designed to keep subscribers in the know, was introduced in conjunction with FEMA’s National PrepareAthon! Day last month, and will be replacing the County’s “Notify Me” Emergency Alerts option, which only provided users the ability to receive email notices.

“HCFL Alert will send subscribers, including visitors, messages either on their home phones, work phones, via text and email, or on all such means,” said County Spokesperson Michelle VanDyke. “Even receiving devices for the hearing impaired can be registered.”

Van Dyke emphasized that the service is extremely beneficial as they said it provides essential instructions quickly when time-sensitive information is important.

HCFL Alert will notify residents in case of evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions, hazardous materials incidents, mandatory boil-water notices in unincorporated Hillsborough County, other critical public health and safety messages, tropical storm and hurricane warnings, major County road work, and major service interruptions, to name a few. 

Registration is quick and easy, at HillsboroughCounty.org/HCFLAlert. Persons without Internet access may call 272-6602 to register.

Those who register between now and June 1, 2016 will be eligible for monthly prizes that include weather radios and emergency kits. Visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/staysafe.