Mass emergency notification system coming to Poulsbo

Soon the city of Poulsbo will have a new way to send out mass notifications to residents through a program called Nixle.

Nixle is a software program and emergency management tool that cities can use to alert citizens about active or potential emergencies should they arise.

Nixle was one of two options that Mayor Becky Erickson asked city staff to look into – the other was TextMyGov.

A combination of simplicity and familiarity is what drove the council to choose Nixle. Using a single simple action a city can notify its citizens of an active emergency via text, email, phone or social media.

Additionally, Nixle is a system used by Bainbridge Island, and it has offered to teach Poulsbo employees how to use it and what sort of policies should be in effect before its use.

“We’ve needed something like this for a long time,” Erickson said. “It is very helpful to have the ability to send out mass notifications in a very quick way, and they’ve got the technology down so well that it’s relatively inexpensive.”

The city will be paying $4,500 to participate in the program. It is separate from the Kitsap County and state emergency notification systems.

Another benefit to the system is its ability to alert people about coronavirus vaccine availability across the city, especially now that people 16 and older can receive the vaccine.

“I think this software would have been tremendously helpful throughout the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing potentially lifesaving communication,” Councilman Gary McVey said.

Update: As of April 29, Poulsbo residents can sign up for the Nixle alert system by texting POULSBO to 888777 or going to the City of Poulsbo website and sign up via the widget.