Forney started using the Blackboard system about two years ago. Residents had voiced frustration over not hearing the outdoor warning sirens when dangerous storms were approaching. The problem with the sirens is that they were never designed or intended for people to hear them in their homes or businesses. The sirens are literally meant to warn those who are outside and may not have access to a TV or radio to tell them of an approaching storm. The Blackboard system is able to notify all residents in the 75126 zip code who have signed up for it.
Mayor Rozell said, “Blackboard will send you phone calls to your home or cell, or work, and it sends you text messages and emails. The day of the tornado I received a text, email, and phone call to my cell and home phone.” He said the April 3, 2012 tornado warnings came about 20 minutes before the EF-3 tornado tore through Forney, giving him ample time to seek shelter. There is no longer a need to depend on hearing an outdoor siren. Mayor Rozell added, “This is 2012 and this technology lets us notify the greatest number of people in the quickest amount of time. Preparation and warning are key to staying safe in a bad weather situation.”
You do not have to live in the city of Forney to be eligible to sign up for the Blackboard alerts says Mayor Rozell, “We want the whole community to be informed. There is a minimal cost to the city for increased subscribers, but it pales in comparison to the lives it might save.” The Mayor wants citizens to know that the Blackboard system has more than just weather related uses. He said, “We don't use the system for everyday notifications like upcoming meetings or event announcements, but we have used it to get critical information out to residents. Water line outages or possible gas leaks, critical health and safety issues...the calls can even be segmented so that, for example, we can notify only the northwest city residents of an issue in the Fox and Jacobs addition.”
The Blackboard Connect system is invaluable to Forney residents, if you have not signed up for the emergency alerts, you should do so immediately. Let your neighbors and family know about it as well, and help keep the community safe.
To sign up for the Blackboard system alerts, go to the City of Forney website or click here. If you know someone that needs to sign up but does not have computer access, they can call City Hall at (972) 564-7300.
**New Info as of May 18, 2012** Per the City of Forney Facebook page: A chance to win a $50 Wal-Mart gift card if you register now for the Blackboard Connect notifications! "Register between May 17 to June 15 to put your name in the drawing. You can register for this service from the home page of the City's website, www.cityofforney.org. Sign up today for your chance to win!! *Winners will be notified via phone number registered."