Does the Village of Deerfield know how to reach you if you must boil your water or some other civic emergency arises?
If you are one of a growing number of people who has given up a land based telephone line in favor of only a cellular device, you will have to let the Village know your number because services which update telephone numbers have not caught up with current technology.
The problem was uncovered when Deerfield issued an order August 12 to boil all water necessary for most personal use, according to a report on the Village’s reverse 911 system given by Police Chief John Sliozis at Tuesday’s Village Board of Trustees meeting.
Though the reverse 911 program notifies people on land telephones, cellular phones, by text message and by email, the Village’s automatic updating service has its limits. “The data base is updated by (the service operator) on a monthly basis using home phones,” Sliozis said at the meeting referring to land lines.
There is no directory for cell phones or email addresses, according to Village Manager Kent Street. “The real solution is to use cell phone and voice mail,” he said. He urges people to check with the Village to make sure there is a current number on file.
Trustee Robert Benton was concerned whether there was sufficient protection for privacy. “Can we assume if someone has an unlisted number it will remain unlisted?” Benton asked. Sliozis assured him it would.
“Yes,” Sliozis said. “The only thing we do is put it into the system. We don’t sell them or anything else.”
Though the average success rate for reverse 911 calls is 52 percent on an industry wide basis, the Village does not consider that acceptable. Deerfield reached 64 percent of the people with the first call August 12 and 73 percent with the second.
When a call went out August 14 letting citizens know boiling water was no longer necessary, three attempts were made increasing the rate of success to 85 percent.
“The system got inundated,” Street said referring to the initial calls prompting the Village to issue a second call August 12 and three two days later. Tests are now planned for events like Family Days to make sure things work properly to prepare for future emergencies.
When the effectiveness of the system is analyzed further, email and text messages work best. When 64 percent of recipients got the word August 12, 100 percent of all emails went through along with 95 percent of text messages, according to Sliozis’s report.
Get local news in a daily email from Patch. It's like getting a free newspaper. Learn more. Then "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.