The City of Portsmouth launched its official notification app last week: Heads Up! Community with Mass Notify.
The app serves as a unified alerts notification system and allows users to directly receive import information. Heads Up! Community does not require any personal information from users such as email or phone number to sign up for alerts, and does not use geolocation which could be draining the battery of your device.
The inclusion of Portsmouth’s alerts was initiated by the Portsmouth Police Department for emergency notifications with the understanding that additional alerts could also be included with the system.
“We were looking for a way to get information to the public in an accurate and timely manner, and since most people carry cellphones and have them on them wherever they go we felt this app was the best way to get emergency notifications out, but also notifications of interest to the public,” said Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware.
Users can choose to receive alerts in several different categories, like fire, police, traffic, school, utilities, health, and weather. Currently the app services only Portsmouth in Ohio, parts of West Virginia, and six Kentucky cities including Greenup and Russell.
Since being released, seven alerts have already been sent out to the public: one police related, one fire related, one weather related, and the rest informational bulletins.
“The good thing about this is its customizable,” said Ware. “You can go in and control those location settings to opt out of receiving alerts from Kentucky and West Virginia communities you have no ties with.”
Ware mentioned that users can select which alerts they’d like to receive according to their needs, and stated that for instance, a parent who lives several hours away and has a student at Shawnee State could choose to only receive alerts on severe weather and police activity, and opt out of alerts such as traffic that might not apply to them.
Since the app launched for Portsmouth, it has received praise and support from numerous members of the community, and city officials like City Councilman Sean Dunne.
“I think it’s great what it’s able to do,” said Dunne in his 1st Ward report at Monday’s City Council. “We’re all on different pages, whether it comes from getting our media from newspapers, radio, or social media. This allows everyone with a phone in our area to sign up and subscribe to a variety of different messages and it’s great to have.”
The Heads Up! Community application can be downloaded to your smart phone or device through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for android users.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
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