Resident sign-up needed for emergency alerts in Lake Forest
Thai Jamieson demonstrates the Global Connect site in the Communications Center at the Lake Forest Police Department. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
LAKE FOREST — The dearth of phone company options has thrown a wrench in the city’s new emergency alert system, a wrinkle officials hope to fix with the community’s help.
All AT&T land-line customers in Lake Forest were automatically switched to the city’s new emergency alert system, Global Connect, during the summer, but those who have other phone system carriers — or no land line at all — were left in the dark.
“It could be a severe storm, a tornado, ongoing criminal activity in a certain area, a lock down in a school or a water main break. Whatever the situation, this is only for emergency notification to the community,” Police Chief James Held said.
Lake Forest police, fire, public works and other city departments can use the new system, which is more accurate and quicker than the previous Code Red, making thousands of calls to deliver a pre-recorded message in minutes, Held said.
“We can alert the whole community or pinpoint an address and select a radius around it,” he said.
Through Global Connect, residents can opt to receive calls at home, at work or on one or more cell phones, said city spokesman Susan Banks.
Eventually, texting and e-mail options will be available to those who choose to receive alerts in that format, Banks said.
The city is still testing the system and plans to contact all residents in January with an all-community test call.
“We’d like to get a feel on where we’re at with how many people we’re notifying,” Held said.
The primary goal of the system, the sign up and the testing is to benefit public safety, Held said.
“It’s important so that if there is a hazardous situation everyone who needs to know is notified. They’ll know whether they need to take action or not,” Held said.
Banks encourages residents to go to the city’s website at www.cityoflakeforest.com and click on the blue Global Connect logo to sign up. Residents will be asked to establish an account by providing an e-mail address and password.
“If you change you phone number or e-mail address, you can update it any time,” she said.
For further information or to opt out of the emergency notifications, contact Public Education Officer Michael Goy at (847) 810-3833.