Santa Paula’s REVERSE 911® cell phone June registration ranks 5th in Ventura County

July 10, 2009
Santa Paula News

Cell phone registration for the emergency REVERSE 911® service is growing in Santa Paula, where the city ranked high in the county for June signups.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesCell phone registration for the emergency REVERSE 911® service is growing in Santa Paula, where the city ranked high in the county for June signups. With 250 cell phone registrations last month, “Santa Paula was the fifth highest percentage wise” at 6.22 percent of the total, a ranking Police Chief Steve MacKinnon said was impressive, especially when compared to other cities.“I was surprised that Ventura has only 93 that registered, and Thousand Oaks only has 14 people who registered their cell phones” to receive automatic emergency notification, although the cities have respectively populations about three and four times larger than Santa Paula. The REVERSE 911® system automatically contacts landline telephones, but cell phone users must register.And, noted Chief MacKinnon, that’s a lot of phones: “I’ve heard ranges for those who have cell phones are well over 80 percent on average. And up to 15 percent don’t have regular phones in the house... they rely exclusively on cell phones.”Those who have not yet registered their cell phones for the REVERSE 911® “would not get any notification without the registry,” missing vital emergency notifications MacKinnon said could range from information about natural disaster to, as with recent events in Santa Paula, warnings a mountain lion has been spotted in the area. MacKinnon said in February when the first sightings of lions were reported it kicked off numerous REVERSE 911® notifications, and publicity regarding same created a spike in cell phone registrations.The system, he noted, is “just one more element we can use to notify the community when something’s going on... it doesn’t have to be a mass disaster, maybe just a missing person. It’s such a very simple process to register cell phones, there’s no real reason not to.”
To register online visit the City of Santa Paula website and visit the Santa Paula Police Department (listed under City Departments). “There’s an icon on the Police Department website that says REVERSE 911®; click on that, give them a few lines of information, hit accept and,” said MacKinnon, “you’re registered.”With the rising popularity of the wireless devices, “It’s not unusual for families to now have three or four cell phones in the house,” and each phone may be registered. “It’s a good feature for the family that everyone will be notified” in case of emergency. “Parents that work, kids out playing, whatever” and wherever they are, MacKinnon said with the REVERSE 911® service “they’re all getting notifications of what is going on in their neighborhood.”During June, according to the Ventura County Office of Emergency Services report, a total of 4,022 cell phones were registered for the REVERSE 911® service. Camarillo had the highest number of registrants at 1,613, 40.10 percent of the total registered for June. Oxnard had 832, 20.69 percent of the total; Oak Park 377, 9.37 percent; and Moorpark 272 registrants, 6.76 percent of the total.In Santa Paula 250 cell phones were registered, 6.22 percent of total June registrations. The lowest number of registrants percentage wise was Piru, with one cell phone registration, closely followed by Rincon with three and Westlake Village with four.Although 5,913 cell phone users tried to register their phones last month, 1,891 registered their landlines (automatically included in the system) or were ineligible because of their geographic area.

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