The disaster in Japan highlighted how important it is to get information out as quickly as possible to people in vulnerable areas. On Tuesday, Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose took a major step forward by announcing the establishment of a “mass notification system” geared specifically for local residents. In the event of an earthquake, flooding, or some other disaster, residents will be able to receive up-to-the-minute text notifications about emergency shelters and evacuations, where they can obtain food and medical assistance, and what routes they can take to escape affected areas, including information on what roads are closed and what bridges are down.

Local residents can sign up for the site at or by texting alertscc, their street name, and their zip code to 32075. At present, the service is provided only in English, though the authorities hope to include other languages in the future. Voice messages to landlines and cell phones are also available.
Read More at The Mercury News.