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Pittsburgh gives tentative OK to expanding emergency alert system

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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 4:28 p.m.

Pittsburgh could soon be able to alert residents of emergencies via cell phone, email and text message.

City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to legislation sponsored by Corey O'Connor requiring the Department of Public Safety to create the alert system.

Pittsburgh already has the capability to notify residents of emergencies via landline telephone calls, though it has not had to do so, according to Raymond DeMichiei, deputy director of emergency management.

Council has budgeted $50,000 to $100,000 for the expanded system, but won't know the exact cost until receiving bids from contractors. O'Connor said the money would likely come from a combination of operating and capital money.

Under the legislation, which is scheduled for a final vote next week, residents would be required to sign up through the city's website or by the 311 non-emergency line.

Messages would be sent to caregivers of residents who are unable to receive them, O'Connor said.

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