Washington County's emergency notification system has been activated but only a fraction of the county's residents have signed up, according to a county official.
Kevin Lewis, the county director of emergency services, spoke to the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday about the system, demonstrating how to register and use the alerts.
The Everbridge Aware Citizen Alert system, which went live in September, alerts registered residents about severe weather, fires, floods, toxic environmental issues and other emergencies, Lewis said previously.
Only about 600 of Washington County's roughly 120,000 residents have registered for the system, he said Tuesday.
"I'd like to be at 100 percent," he told the council.
When he asked for a volunteer to demonstrate how to register, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he had just registered during the meeting Tuesday.
Once registered, alert messages can be sent to residents via cellphone, land line, email, text message, and hearing-impaired and other devices, based on the recipient's preference, Lewis said.
He said it is important for each individual, not households, to sign up for the system.
Using himself as an example, he said that for he and his wife to receive alerts, both need to be registered. Registering just their household would only send an alert to the land line associated with their home, he said.
But Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said that even if someone is not registered, the system will notify land lines in the geographical area where an emergency occurs.
Citizens can select what types of alerts they want to receive and how, Lewis said.
To register, go to www.washco-md.net/EmergencyServices/index.shtm and click on "Citizen Alert Notification Sign Up."