Reverse 9-1-1 in Kirkland can reach thousands of phone numbers quickly
December 3, 2012 · 11:28 AM
The City of Kirkland is a participating member of NORCOM, which is a regional dispatch center located in Bellevue. NORCOM uses a software program called Community Telephone Emergency Notification System, sometimes called Reverse 9-1-1, to send urgent messages to selected phone numbers based on the geographic location of a resident’s phone carrier billing address.
The system allows for a city-wide notification or can target specific phone numbers in a designated area. Phone numbers (excluding unlisted numbers) are supplied by phone companies and updated annually. If you have an unlisted phone number, you can register at www.norcom.org.
The benefits of a Reverse 9-1-1
This system has the potential to reach thousands of phone numbers within a fairly short period of time. The Kirkland Police Department has activated the system as a means to reach residents in cases where the public needs to be notified immediately of a situation or their help is needed urgently.
A notification may be sent – even during inconvenient hours – to help find a missing adult or child who may have a serious health condition or is in serious danger. In the event of a major disaster and the phone system is working, important public safety messages can be sent out via this system that could advise residents of most damaged areas and evacuation information.
This system was utilized recently in an effort to get the public’s help in locating a missing elderly male who suffered from dementia. With the temperatures dropping, the system was activated so that every tool available to the police department was utilized. The gentleman was safely returned later that evening.
What you may see and hear on your phone
The system pushes out a pre-recorded message giving emergency instructions to whoever receives the message. All outbound recorded messages will be brief and to the point. A message will be from 30 to 60 seconds in length and will begin with the statement: “This is the Kirkland Police Department with a recorded message.”
All outbound messages will include a phone number for residents to call if they have questions about the message or information to provide. Because the call is initiated from NORCOM, which is located in Bellevue, the prefix is not Kirkland-based.
Learn more about the Reverse 9-1-1 system used by NORCOM, or to add or update your phone number to receive notifications or to delete your phone number, visit www.norcom.org or call 425-577-5656.