Evanston debuts new emergency alert system app


Daily file photo/Zack Laurence

Evanston switched vendors for an emergency response system. Evanston residents now can receive push notifications on their phone through the ContactBridge app.

Erica Snow, Assistant City Editor

City staff are encouraging Evanston residents to register for Evanston’s new emergency notification system.

EvanstonAlerts alerts residents by text, phone or email of any health or safety risks in the area.

Residents must input their information into the system to receive emergency notifications, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said.

Off-campus students especially could benefit from subscribing to the system, Bobkiewicz said.

“Everybody lives their lives in different ways,” Bobkiewicz said. “Everybody gets their information in different ways. So for those people perhaps who are not on social media avenues, but want to hear from us directly, this is the application for that.”

Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan of Evanston Police Department said although the system might not always be applicable to Northwestern’s campus, students might find the alert useful if they’re heading into the city.

Dugan said he hoped the system wouldn’t have to be used that often because it would only be used for serious emergencies.

“It has to be an active threat event, something that threatens potential loss of life or very big property damage,” Dugan said. “The more information you have, the better.”

Dugan added the system might be expanded later.

Even if residents don’t sign up for the new emergency notification system, the city will still post all emergency notifications on Facebook and Twitter, Bobkiewicz said. The city also calls landline phone numbers, according to a news release.

The system will notify residents of health and safety risks, such as crime, gas leaks and flooding. Residents can sign up at cityofevanston.org/alerts or by calling or texting 847-448-4311.

After registering for the alert system, residents can download the ContactBridge app to receive push notifications.

“Between the alert system and use of social media, whether we put stuff out on Twitter or Facebook, the more people you can alert to an emergency, the better off you’ll be,” Dugan said.

Ben Winck contributed reporting.

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Twitter: @ericasnoww