Jefferson County’s Nixle notification explained

PORT HADLOCK — Jefferson County Emergency Management announced it has received complaints about its Nixle notification system.

Nixle is a text message and email notification service which provides subscribers with public safety-related information.

“Recent Nixle messages sent out by DEM have resulted in more phone calls to our office with subscribers asking for additional information incidents referenced in text messages,” said Lynn Sterbenz, emergency management director.

“The number of characters is limited.”

The number of available characters — which includes letters, numbers, and spaces — for a text message is about 138, according to Todd Morrison, emergency management marketing and community outreach coordinator.

“When we have more information than can be put in a text message, a link is shown at the bottom of the text,” Sterbenz said.

Adding an information link is emergency management’s preferred method, but when added the available word count shrinks to about 112 characters, Morrison added.

To access more information, subscribers will need to click on the link.

For email notifications, there is no character limit which results in more immediate information.

Other comments from subscribers include notification about when an incident is cleared and when roads are open again.

“We don’t always get that information,” Sterbenz said.

“If and when we get it, we will send out another Nixle as long as it’s not in the middle of the night.”

The department does not issue Hood Canal Bridge closures or ferry route notifications.

To receive notifications about bridge traffic or ferry systems, visit the state Department of Transportation’s website at www.wsdot.com.

Those in Jefferson County interested in subscribing to Nixle can visit www.jeffcoeoc.org and click on the cellphone icon on the right-hand side of the screen.

After selecting the icon, sign up steps will be displayed and after following those steps, a text message from 888777 will be sent to your phone. Reply to the text complete the sign-up process.

According to a news release: “There is no cost for this service other than what your mobile carrier might charge for text messages if you have not signed up for unlimited text messaging service.”

Approximately 5,000 users have subscribed to Nixle through the county’s emergency management’s website, according to the release.

Emergency management began using the notification service in 2010, making it the 42nd agency to adopt the service.

To register for Nixle notifications from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, see http://www.clallam.net/sheriff/Nixle_Info.html.

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