WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Sedgwick County Emergency Management is asking people to sign up for a new service called Civic Ready Alerts. So far, it will mainly benefit the people of Wichita and Mount Hope, but a dozen other towns are expected to be added soon.

“We are launching a new layer in our warning strategy, and that’s going to be Civic Ready Alerts,” Jonathan Marr, deputy director of Sedgwick County Emergency Management, said. “There’s been an appetite for this type of service in recent years.”

The free program lets you sign up to get alerts about emergencies, important news, weather, and even community bulletins.

“Civic Ready Alerts can immediately let people know what’s happening where they live and how they should respond,” Julie Stimson, director of Sedgwick County Emergency Management, said.

Click here to sign up for the alerts. You can choose the type of alerts you wants and how you want to be contacted — by email, text, or voice call.

Cody Charvat, operations officer for Emergency Management, said it helps to provide as much information as possible, including your address. He said the goal is to send messages to specific neighborhoods when possible.

“I want to stress that we’re not doing anything at all with this contact information or this location information beyond using it to alert people,” Charvat said. “There’s no data mining here whatsoever. It’s strictly contained within this Civic Ready program.”

He said that although the program will only have Wichita and Mount Hope alerts for now, people in other areas may be interested in signing up, such as people who work and do business in Wichita.

Emergency Management will train personnel on the system in about a dozen other towns in the coming months.

“We didn’t want to launch it for every city because we know there’s going to be bugs,” Charvat said. “We don’t know what we don’t know at this point. So we want to get those bugs worked out, make sure we’ve got the first group of users properly trained and didn’t skip something in their training before we train up the rest of the cities.”

“It’s another tool for Sedgwick County to use during times of emergency,” Marr said. “When appropriate, we will still activate the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV and send Wireless Emergency Alerts to your cell phone, but this gives us one more way to reach residents who might be in danger.”

“What I appreciate about Civic Ready Alerts is it can instantly translate the information being sent into 69 written languages and 31 spoken languages,” said Pete Meitzner, Sedgwick County Commission chair. “All of our residents should be able to get notifications in their preferred language. This could save lives!”

If you sign up for the alerts and later want to change an address or unsubscribe, there is a place on the website to do that.

Charvat says community bulletins will be non-emergency local news like city government notices, service interruptions, local road closures and special events. Health alerts will come from the Sedgwick County Health Department and would include boil water advisories, outbreaks or other local health concerns.

Public safety alerts will be sent by 911 supervisors for any police, fire or EMS situation, such as an evacuation or shelter-in-place warning.

The weather alerts are automated.

“We have no input in these whatsoever,” Charvat said. “As soon as these warnings are issued by the National Weather Service, it will automatically push a message through to the Civic Ready users who have signed up for them.”

He said it is still essential to have other layers of protection.

“You’re still going to need something to wake you up at night. You’re still going to need something to alert you when the power is out, or your cell phone is dead,” he said.