Text 994-11 and type “Lebo,” and soon everything will be set.
That’s the most expedient way to enroll in the LeboEmergency notification system, according to Laura Pace Lilley, Mt. Lebanon public information officer.
She joined fire department management team members Sean Daniels and Chris Buttlar to provide an update about the system during Mt. Lebanon Commission’s July 23 discussion session, focusing on efforts to get the word out to the community at large.
“This is not just for residents,” Lilley said. “This is for people who have parents in the retirement facilities here. This is for people who have kids in daycare here. We are pushing this out to as many people as possible.”
Daniels, Mt. Lebanon Fire Department’s assistant chief, explained LeboEmergency is intended to complement other municipal notification avenues and be used only in certain situations.
“The strategy that we’ve agreed to take on is to really define an emergency as something where the threat affects more than a single household or a single building, and the risk to the area is not self-evident,” he said. “A barricaded gunman inside a house will affect a neighborhood. That may not be self-evident to the people in the community.”
As a contrasting situation, he cited flooding.
“Although it does affect and can be a significant issue, we feel that the threat is self-evident and we have other channels to communicate and educate the public,” Daniels told commissioners.
LeboEmergency functions through CodeRED, a notification solution developed by Florida-based software company OnSolve LLC. When someone starts the enrollment process by texting, that person receives a link to a CodeRED webpage to enter information and options for receiving notifications, including TTY alerts for hearing-impaired individuals.
Anoyone interested also can enroll through the municipal website at http://mtlebanon.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=916, with detailed instructions provided.
Buttlar, who is in charge of emergency management for Mt. Lebanon, explained notifications can be targeted for certain geographic areas, rather than going to everyone who signs up for LeboEmergency.
As an example, he provided information about its targeted use during a July 8 incident on Marlin Drive in which a suspected hazardous materials leak turned out to be sulfur dioxide from an old refrigerator.
“It went out within 30 seconds. It hit at a 97 percent rate in the community,” he said, based on data received for emergency management purposes from utilities as per the federal Warning, Alert and Response Network Act of 2006.
Many of the telephone numbers, though, are for landlines.
“So we only effectively communicated at a 49% rate, because 51% either rang infinitely or did not connect because of an answering machine,” Buttlar told commissioners. “It’s really going to be effective through cellphones, and that’s the next wave.”
LeboEmergency includes the option to enter several numbers by which to receive notifications and those may be sent through email, as well. An app is available for download onto mobile devices, but it is not necessary.
Meanwhile, the LeboALERT system still is in use for nonemergency notifications, such as special event schedules, street closures and municipal service changes.
Municipal officials are examining ways to mitigate confusion regarding the separate notification systems and their different purposes.
“We’ve even had internal conversations about re-branding Lebo Alert as ‘Lebo Info’ or something to take that ‘Alert’ piece out,” municipal manager Keith McGill said.
One significant feature of LeboEmergency is to provide notification when a threat has ended.
“When you tell people something scary is going on, you need to tell them everything’s clear,” Lilley said. “So that will be part of our procedure.”