Ascension Parish residents can begin signing up for a new community alert system.

The Ascension Parish government, through the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, will use the Community Alerting System to communicate with residents and businesses during emergencies and other critical events.

The actual alert system will go live in January, Parish President Kenny Matassa said in a news release. Residents and business are encouraged to register at ascensionparish.net/ohsep/communityalert.html.

The system, operated through Everbridge, will alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, hurricanes, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance. Messages will be sent to residents on any or all of their preferred methods of communication — cellphone, SMS, home phone, email, fax, pager and more.

Residential landlines listed with local telephone companies will be automatically enrolled, but the function will only be used during the most crucial, life threatening emergencies. The system allows residents to self-register, provide additional contact information and multiple addresses, or they can opt out completely.

The alert system also gives residents the opportunity to register special needs. This allows the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to send specific information and contact them directly during times of emergency, the news release said.

“We have an obligation and commitment to ensure public safety, community awareness and emergency response," Matassa said. “So when critical information and public service announcements are available, we need to reach our residents as quickly and reliably as possible.” 

The notification system "allows the parish and cities to disseminate emergency information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it the most,” said Rick Webre, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “A resilient, comprehensive critical communications system is an essential tool for a growing parish like Ascension that needs to notify thousands of residents and businesses rapidly and efficiently.”

Register for alerts at ascensionparish.net/ohsep. For information, call Ascension OHSEP at (225) 621-8360.