Gilbert is launching a text message and e-mail service to deliver information to its young and technologically oriented residents.
“This is the first step in the long-term mission to embrace technology,” spokeswoman Beth Lucas said.
Residents can sign up by clicking a tab on the right side of the town’s home page at www.gilbertaz.gov.
The free service is offered through Nixle’s Community Information Service. After creating a Nixle account, users will be able to select from four local interest areas, including the town, its police and fire departments and traffic.
They can also select getting news by e-mail, text messaging, or both, as well as the frequency with which they receive the text messages. Text messages will be limited to 117 characters and contain a link to further information online. The phone company’s standard text messaging rates will apply.
Users will receive updates on construction projects and traffic hazards; public safety alerts about missing persons, high-profile arrests or dangerous crime or fire scenes; and reminders of community events.
The new community alert service is the first effort in Gilbert’s push to revamp its communication tools. Several Town Council members have said navigation of the town Web site needs to be simplified, and Gilbert should take advantage of the communication methods many have come to expect.
“You can receive these alerts directly to your phone no matter where you are, and stay hooked in to Gilbert when shopping, or taking your dog for a walk,” Lucas said.
East Valley elected officials are updating personal Twitter accounts, and the governments they guide have jumped into the social media sphere to varying degrees. Mesa has an emergency notification system where officials can communicate via listserv, Twitter or cable Channel 11 about large-scale incidents like a blackout or a water outage affecting thousands.
Since it’s being reserved for major emergencies, “we’ve never used it in the three years we’ve had it,” said Mesa spokesman Kevin Christopher.
Chandler has had a presence on Nixle since the beginning of this summer, said Kim Kaan, city Web editor. The city began tweeting almost a year ago. She said the Nixle alerts are more often used by the police and fire departments, and other community news tends to go out over Twitter and Facebook.