Maricopa City Council on April 18 discussed implementing a mass notification-alert system across the city for emergencies.

The alert would be a localized version of Pinal County’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which will continue to send emergency alerts on events that present an imminent threat affecting a large area. This includes extreme weather and disasters, plus AMBER and Silver Alerts.

IPAWS and the Maricopa alert system would be separate entities.

Unlike IPAWS, this local mass notification-alert system managed by Maricopa would focus on local emergencies, such as police investigations, fires, road closures and other high-visibility incidents within city limits. Residents could opt-in to receive alerts. Those who do not subscribe would not receive alerts.

Communications and Cultural Services Director Quinn Konold stated the city currently uses social media to spread information about such events, but an alert system would present the opportunity to send more-immediate information.

“We’re looking to create more of a framework for how we’re going to create local mass notifications,” Konold said.

City Manager Rick Horst also emphasized that alerts may not always include those related to utilities, such as water main breaks or power outages.

“It’s the utility’s responsibility to push out those notifications,” he said. “The city is not primary for those utility notifications, we’re just a supplement to them. We will certainly assist in dissemination of that information, but the information has to come from them.”

Konold said the city does not currently have a time frame for when the system may be implemented.