WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Sedgwick County Emergency Management has launched the first phase of a free service that can notify residents by phone or email of emergencies or important news.

Residents can can opt-in to receive messages regarding public safety, health, weather or other community bulletins. The county said in a release that the Civic Ready Alerts service is only available in Wichita and Mt. Hope, but a dozen more cities across Sedgwick County are expected to participate. 

“Sedgwick County is excited to partner with surrounding cities to keep our residents informed,” said Julie Stimson, director of Sedgwick County Emergency Management. “Civic Ready Alerts can immediately let people know what’s happening where they live and how they should respond.”

Signing up for Civil Ready Alerts is fast and easy on the SCEM website: Emergency Management | Sedgwick County, Kansas. You can specify how you want to be contacted, by email, text or voice call, and which notifications you would like to receive. The notifications range from emergency and weather alerts to road closures and health advisories. By sharing a home address, residents can even receive alerts targeted for their neighborhood.

“It’s another tool for Sedgwick County to use during times of emergency,” said Jonathan Marr, deputy director of Emergency Management. “When appropriate, we will still activate the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV and send Wireless Emergency Alerts to your cell phone, but this gives us one more way to reach residents who might be in danger.”

“What I appreciate about Civic Ready Alerts, is it can instantly translate the information being sent into 69 written languages and 31 spoken languages,” said Pete Meitzner, chair of the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners. “All of our residents should be able to get notifications in their preferred language. This could save lives!”