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**Sign Up For Local Alerts

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- The notification system known as ReadyNotify PA is changing. Emergency management and public safety officials in Southeastern Pennsylvania will be using new and improved systems in the City of Philadelphia and the four surrounding Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery.

The new systems allow residents to select from different types of notifications (like severe weather and transportation alerts) and select their preferred methods of receiving those alerts - like in an email, a text message, a voice call, and others.

For details on each county's system, please visit their respective websites:

Bucks County: http://www.buckscounty.org/readybucks
Chester County: http://www.readychesco.org
Delaware County: http://www.co.delaware.pa.us
Montgomery County: http://www.co.delaware.pa.us
City of Philadelphia: http://www.co.delaware.pa.us

Calling 9-1-1 from your cell phone: important information you should know

With advances in today's technology, more and more people are using cell phones. However, the mobility they provide can create headaches for 9-1-1 call centers because the phone isn't tied down to one physical location in an emergency. Even with GPS, it's only possible to pinpoint the caller's location down to about 100 feet - which can make a huge difference in some situations. As a result, a 9-1-1 operator is going to rely heavily on the person making the call to help determine their exact location. This is especially important for calls originating along the borders with neighboring counties.

Here's why: many people believe that 9-1-1 is a universal call center where someone from Wichita can call and have an ambulance sent to their loved ones in Pittsburgh. The reality is that
each county has its own 9-1-1 call center, and is responsible for dispatching these calls to the local first responders in that county's jurisdiction.

When someone dials a number on their cell phone, it looks for the nearest tower to pick up that signal and relay the phone call. In an area that straddles the border between two counties, it's very possible that the emergency may be in one county, while the reception tower may be across the border in another county. The phone company sends the call to the 9-1-1 center in which the tower is located - which means your call for help might be answered by people who can't immediately help you.

Public safety officials are asking people who use cell phones to reach 9-1-1 to take a second and mention what county they're calling from, if they know it. For example, "I'm calling from Montgomery County." This should alert the call taker from the other county to transfer to the appropriate center. If they don't transfer right away, say it again.

Here's what to remember:

1) If you have to call 9-1-1 for assistance, please try to remain calm.
2) If you're along a border with another county, mention the county you're calling from if you know it.
3) Speak clearly and as slowly as possible so the call taker can understand you.
4) Give your name and number so they can call back in case you get disconnected.
5) Provide specific information about your location, such as an address or intersection. Points of reference (like, "next to the gas station by the post office") will not work.
6) Describe what's happening at the scene with as many facts as you know.
7) Understand that help is being dispatched soon after you call. However, you may be asked more questions to gather additional information for the responders.