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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Health department to text, e-mail alerts

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health issued this statement today about text and e-mail alerts:

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health will begin using a new service called Nixle to send out important public health information directly to residents using the latest technology.

Through Nixle, the health department will be able to create and send messages instantly to residents by cell phone text message and/or email. Notifications can also be accessed online at www.nixle.com.

Messages may include information on mosquito spraying in a particular neighborhood, updates on a potential disease outbreak, emergency warnings, as well as other relevant public health alerts.

Similar to Twitter, Nixle allows users to send short messages to subscribed users. However, Nixle offers municipalities a secure way to send important messages to users in a designated geographic area.

Nixle is a free and secure communications service available to city, county and state government agencies. There is no spam or hidden advertising. The messages can be sent to all subscribers or specifically to residents within a certain neighborhood.

Residents can decide from which local agencies they want to receive information, what type of information, as well as the way in which alerts are received, whether by email, text message or over the Web. Standard text message rates do apply.

“It’s important that we stay current with changes in technology, and we believe this service will allow us to keep residents informed in the most timely, convenient way possible,” says John Silcox, Communications Director.

“Obviously, this system is most effective when we have large numbers of subscribers. We hope people will register and encourage their family and friends to do the same. “

Residents could already sign up for automatic email alerts from the health department on its Web site, www.allencountyhealth.com. Now, residents can start receiving information via text message as well by registering at www.nixle.com.

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