Wellington officials are hoping that before the upcoming hurricane season begins, as many people as possible will register for the new Wellington Alert system that provides emergency information from the village, Palm Beach County and the Federal Emergency Management Association’s integrated public alert system.
“It is so important that residents register now before a storm hits our area,” said Liz Nunez with Wellington’s public communications department. “We are going to be very active on getting as many people signed up as possible.”
Residents should expect an intensive campaign over the next few weeks trumpeting the new community alert system that replaces the old Code Red system.
People who received the older Code Red messages must sign up for the new system. “That way, the contacts and names are as current as possible,” Nunez said.
The system will call a traditional home landline, send a text to a cell phone and/or an e-mail to reach residents. There is an associated app called “Alert Me Mobile,” which can be downloaded for free and works on Apple or Android phones or smartwatches.
“The messages can alert you about hurricanes, storms, tornadoes and other weather events, evacuation orders, boil water notifications, road closings — both emergency closings and things like inconvenient lane closures before a commute — and even community events,” Nunez explained. “It lets residents determine what information they would like to receive and how they would like to receive it.”
While most people are likely to sign up for alerts in English, speakers of other languages can get their alerts translated in 11 languages, including Spanish and Creole, Nunez said.
Registration for Alert Wellington is simple. Just go to the village’s web site at www.wellingtonfl.gov starting next week and sign up. Even with the word just now starting to get out, there are already several hundred names on the list. “Of course, we want to get as many people as possible,” Nunez said.
Nunez noted that because of the village’s growing senior population and that, as a group, the senior segment is less likely to use social media, the village is offering plenty of assistance getting seniors signed up for the new alert system.
Using a computer is necessary to sign up, and if a resident doesn’t have one, the village has them available at the Wellington Community Center that can be used for this purpose, free of charge. There is even help at the Senior Lounge for those unsure of how to use the computer to register.
Community Services Specialist Jenifer Brito staffs the area during the week and will be at senior luncheons, and she said that she is happy to help with the online computer registration. For more information, or to schedule a time to go in, call (561) 791-4796. “The Senior Lounge is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Brito said.
She urged seniors, as well as the general population, to sign up.
“People want to get on the list before a storm,” Brito said. “It’s good for when there’s a hurricane or a storm, such as a tornado. We’re really excited that there is a lot of information that seniors can receive at their homes, and they should be registered in preparation for hurricane season.”
Like Nunez, Brito will also be at events in the coming weeks promoting registration into the program.
“I will be at the Lunch & Learn event on May 28 at 11:30 a.m. at the Wellington Community Center,” said Brito, inviting seniors to register at (561) 753-2476.
In a soft launch period, test messages may be used to ensure that the system is easy for all to understand. The village wants to ensure that everything is operating smoothly before the first storms of the season.
“In May, we will really rev up our efforts to get folks signed up,” Nunez said.