Officials push for residents to sign up for emergency alerts

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — When the weather or something else poses a major threat, there is one tool that could help save lives. A regional emergency notification system allows authorities to send out warnings containing vital information to those in harm’s way.

Officials are worried that not enough people are signing up though.

In a flash flood, families are often taken by surprise.

That’s what happened in October 2013 near Brushy Creek in Hutto when Gilbert Herreros almost drove into high water.

“I saw a car…barely saw the top of the car,” he said. “It was like 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Herreros says a reverse emergency call back could have helped him that night.

Mary Thelig also plans to sign up after wishing she would have got an alert earlier this week when ice shut the city down.

“If people had known, they may have stayed home,” she said. “Some people said if they had known also that it was going to be bad they wouldn’t have sent their children to school.”

About 68,000 people in the 10 counties around Austin are currently signed up for the alerts, pages and texts. Organizers say that’s not enough. Signing up is free and easy. The service won’t track your phone, but could save your life.

“I would want to know as soon as I possibly could,” Thelig said of the service. “I’m sure it would be helpful for me.”

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