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PR- 459-07
December 10, 2007


Mayor Encourages New Yorkers to Sign Up For Pilot Emergency Public Communications Program

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that Notify NYC, a pilot program to deliver emergency public information by email, text messages and reverse-911 alerts in four City community districts became operational today. Any interested individual can sign up for Notify NYC through and receive information about significant emergency events in four pilot communities: Lower Manhattan, the Northeast Bronx, the Rockaways, and Southwest Staten Island. The different technologies tested during the pilot will be evaluated to determine whether they could be deployed citywide. The pilots in Lower Manhattan and the Rockaways will test email and text message alerts, and the pilots for the Northeast Bronx and Southwest Staten Island will test email alerts and auto-dialing - also called reverse-911. The launch of this program fulfilled a campaign promise and the pilot program activated the ability to send alerts and notifications today.

"As more New Yorkers sign up for Notify NYC, more individuals benefit from the emergency communications that will be sent and the different technologies being evaluated get a more robust test," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Anyone can sign up for Notify NYC communications about emergency events in Lower Manhattan, the Northeast Bronx, the Rockaways and Southwest Staten Island, regardless of where they live or work. I encourage those interested to log on to and sign up."

Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler has overseen the development of Notify NYC, which is the result of a collaborative effort between the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Department of Information, Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT), the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit (CAU) and the City's public safety, health and housing agencies including Police (NYPD), Fire (FDNY), Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Environmental Protection (DEP), Sanitation (DSNY), Transportation (DOT), Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and Buildings (DOB).

Information about significant emergency events in the four pilot communities is being sent via a differing combination of email, text messages with a maximum length of 120 characters and recorded telephone calls known as reverse-911. Alerts sent through Notify NYC will also be posted on the program's website at and distributed to call takers at 311 and 911 in an effort to ensure that information that the City provides is accurate, timely and consistent.

The pilot tests two types of messages: "alerts" that provide time-sensitive information and instructions about an emergency and "notifications" that serve as informational advisories. For example, a major coastal storm approaching the City could trigger a Notify NYC alert, while a utility outage that does not require any specific action could trigger a notification. Alerts and notifications are drafted by OEM's Watch Command and sent to registered Notify NYC participants.

Emergency information is limited to events that directly impact the four communities in the pilot program. Notify NYC is a voluntary program and information collected to send alerts and notifications remains confidential.  Phone numbers, email addresses and other personal information collected during the registration process will never be used for purposes other than an emergency alert or notification transmitted through this program.

Lower Manhattan and the Rockaways
The pilots for Lower Manhattan and the Rockaways distribute alerts and notifications through email and text messages. Because the Notify NYC messages travel on cellular carriers' networks, message-delivery times will vary. Text messages will work on cell phones used by different wireless carriers.

Notify NYC for Lower Manhattan serves neighborhoods in Manhattan Community Board 1: Battery Park City, Civic Center, Financial District and Tribeca. Lower Manhattan was chosen for the pilot program because of public concerns about health and safety issues associated with the 9/11 attacks, including the construction, deconstruction and decontamination activities near the World Trade Center site.

Notify NYC for the Rockaways serves neighborhoods in Queens Community Board 14: Breezy Point, Belle Harbor, Neponsit, Arverne, Bayswater, Edgemere, Rockaway Park, Rockaway and Far Rockaway. These coastal communities in Rockaway and Far Rockaway were chosen because of the relative frequency of flood conditions and the threat of severe flooding and beach erosion from a coastal storm.

\Northeast Bronx and Southwest Staten Island
The pilots for Northeast Bronx and Southwest Staten Island distribute alerts and notifications through email and auto-dialing, a service that delivers pre-recorded voice messages to landlines and cell phones and is also known as reverse-911. As part of the registration process, participants can elect to receive only email messages, or emails and reverse-911 phone messages that can be sent to cell phones and landlines.

Notify NYC for the Northeast Bronx serves neighborhoods in the Bronx's Community Board 10: Co-op City, City Island, Spencer Estates, Throgs Neck, Country Club, Zerega, Westchester Square, Pelham Bay, Eastchester Bay, Schuylerville, Edgewater, Locust Point, and Silver Beach. This area has both high-density and low-density housing that can test the effectiveness of the pilot program in varying urban conditions.

Notify NYC for Southwest Staten Island serves neighborhoods in the southern third of the island throughout Community Board 3: Annadale, Arden Heights, Bay Terrace, Charleston, Eltingville, Great Kills, Greenridge, Huguenot, Pleasant Plains, Prince's Bay, Richmond Valley, Rossville, Tottenville, and Woodrow. This part of Staten Island was selected as a pilot community because it has many coastal communities, and is near industrial facilities at Port Mobil and on the New Jersey side of Arthur Kill.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958

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