HIGHLAND — The town is making a switch from the Nixle alert system to the Rave Alert system for its text message, email and phone emergency notifications.
The switch is now in effect and residents are encouraged to visit the Rave website and register to keep receiving their alerts, Police Cmdr. John Banasiak said.
The website is smart911.com. "It's pretty user friendly," Banasiak said.
The sign-up process takes about 10 minutes and residents can have the alerts sent via text message, email or phone.
Banasiak noted that the town had used Nixle since 2009, but it was becoming cost prohibitive.
Rave is operated, overseen and funded by Lake County, which is making it available to local police departments for free, Banasiak said.
"Rave is part of the Smart911 system," he added.
With Rave, residents can choose which alerts they want to receive, including many types of emergency and information notifications such as weather alerts, road closures, water main breaks — and even public service information such as park events, fireworks and parades.
Residents also have the option of listing information that would help first responders in the event of home emergencies.
These categories include: Listing members of the household, medical information, addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts, vehicles and pets.
"It's a modern, up-to-date way to communicate to our residents and businesses" about various alerts and information, Banasiak said. "It's an enhancement of the records that are available to the 911 dispatchers."
The police were hoping to have it in service by Aug. 1, but managed to get it activated a couple weeks sooner after the appropriate personnel received special training.
Munster and Highland are the first local departments to begin using Rave, Banasiak said.