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Newport Beach tests AlertOC

Residents to receive test calls or e-mails on the countywide alert system between 10 a.m. and noon today.

May 26, 2010|By Sarah Peters

Newport Beach will test its emergency notification system this morning by placing automated phone calls to residences and businesses citywide.

More than 110,000 people are scheduled to receive notification of the test via telephone between 10 a.m. and noon.

The annual test comes a few months after the AlertOC, which operates in 32 Orange County cities, failed when attempting to alert county residents of a tsunami advisory in late February.

Costa Mesa and Irvine are not part of the AlertOC system.

Residents and business owners will receive a short, automated phone call to their landline or other designated contact, such as a cell phone or e-mail, which they have voluntarily registered with AlertOC.

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Residences and businesses that do not receive the test-alert should call the system hotline, at (949) 644-3620, or visit www.alertoc.com.

"We are really trying to encourage residents and businesses to sign up additional information so that in the event that they are away from their home or the area, we can notify them if something has happened in the neighborhood," said Katie Eing, Newport Beach emergency services coordinator.

Twenty-five thousand people so far have opted to add additional information, Eing said.

In February, problems arose in response to the tsunami advisory when AlertOC issued a mass alert that overloaded the phone lines.

Today, AlertOC will send calls grouped into three blocks in 45-minute increments.

"It's important for people to know that it's not the system; it's the phone lines," Eing said, "There is no guarantee in a disaster that the phone lines will work."

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