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Hart District Gets Tech Savvy When It Comes To Emergencies

khts_schools_chalkboardText alerts notify parents when emergencies happen.

Students, parents and community members who wish to be notified by text alert to their cell phones whenever there is an emergency in the Wm. S. Hart Union High School District now have the ability to subscribe to the contact service through the district website.

The emergency text alerts would be in addition to the district's emergency telephone system, which has the ability to contact up to six telephone numbers for each of the 23,000 students in the district within 20 minutes, in case of a major emergency.

Emergency messages which go out by telephone can also be accessed by the flashing "Emergency" button on the district's  homepage, so that families will be able to verify the full text of an emergency phone message that may have been cut off by an answering machine or hang-up.

The Emergency button is lit only when an emergency message is posted and is not used for routine telephone messages.

"A number of colleges and universities across the country have adopted an emergency text alert system as a way of communicating instantaneously with students and their families in a fast-breaking emergency situation," explained Pat Willett, the district's community liaison officer. "This is just one more tool to keep our families and our community informed."

The text alert system would be utilized only in major emergency situations such as school closures or re-openings, emergency dismissal information, evacuation center locations and other pertinent information.

Local residents who want to receive emergency messages on their mobile telephones can subscribe to the emergency text messaging service by texting "WSHEMERGENCY" to 41411.

There is also a box on the district's Web site where prospective subscribers can simply enter their mobile telephone number in the "Emergency Text Alerts" box posted on the site.

Subscribers are reminded that standard text messaging rates will apply, charged by the mobile phone service provider.

The district also has provided a text address to unsubscribe to the service at any time that subscribers no longer wish to receive emergency text messages from the district.