Honolulu debuts new emergency app as it plans to cut text alerts

Honolulu debuts new emergency app as it plans to cut text alerts
Updated: May. 25, 2017 at 4:50 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the start of hurricane season just days away, city officials in Honolulu are urging residents to stay prepared.

In 2017, doing so involves downloading a new smartphone app.

That's because text messages from the city's current Nixle alert service will stop Wednesday.

"Nixle has been doing this program for free for all of us. But they've informed us that they're going to start charging for the program," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Instead of paying the fee, the city created an app of its own. It can be found by searching for "HNL Info" in your device's app store.

Ditching the Nixle service, however, means cutting notifications to 45,000 people.

"From your phone, you will be able to subscribe to the topics you're interested in," said Mark Wong, Director of Honolulu's Department of Information and Technology.

Download the HNN app by clicking here.
Get HNN's weather app by clicking here.

Categories on the city's app range from weather and disaster alerts to road closures and information from first responders. You can also find information about driver licensing centers and community events.

"Once you select the topics you are interested in you will only receive those messages unlike Nixle where you got a lot of messages that you weren't interested in. You can tailor this to your own needs," Wong said.

If you don't have a smart phone, you can still sign up for the same alerts via email by going to the website HNL.info. There you will also find an option for text alerts.

Eventually, the city wants to make this a two-way app, where users will be able to interact with the city through their smart phone to do things like send damage reports.

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