Since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, many national organizations have been working to improve their communication systems. Upper Merion Township residents have endured challenging weather conditions in the last few years: some seasons have put many of our residents at risk. Therefore, this question was posed by the Media Communication Advisory Board: How are emergencies involving road closures, traffic jams, and accident reports communicated to the public? In this article, Emergency Communication: Making the Connection to Township Citizens, the Public Information Office will provide you with the latest information on how we utilize our communication channels.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Like Us/Follow Us
Media outlets use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites to share information. The township has been using Facebook and Twitter since 2013 because they are timely venues for sending and receiving information. Sometimes urgent information comes directly from residents and organizations through social media platforms. However, we urge anyone in a life threatening emergency to dial 911. Valid information could be immediately shared through our social media sites and RSS system. Rich Site Summary (RSS) is a web feed that relays information from one site to many sites. The Township uses RSS technology to feed multiple sources quickly, which include online and television platforms.
To create a Facebook account:
- Go to facebook.com.
- Fill out your name, birthday, gender, and email address. If you don't see the form, click “Signup,” then fill out the form.
- Pick a password.
- Click “Signup.”
After you complete the signup form, FB will send an email to the address you provided. To complete the signup process, click the confirmation link.
To create a Twitter account:
- Go to twitter.com and find the signup box, or go directly to twitter.com/signup.
- Enter your full name, email address, and a password.
- Click “Signup” for Twitter.
Twitter will send a confirmation email to the address you entered. Click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.
The township’s social media accounts are available at fb.com/umtownship and twitter.com/umtownship.
Tune In, Find Out
The Upper Merion Police Department will alert KYW Newsradio of any major road closings or traffic accidents. For the latest up-to-the-second traffic information, 24 hours a day, listen to KYW Newsradio 1060 for “Traffic and Transit on the Twos.” To become a “Traffic Tipster,” call 215-724-1060. Your information could be vital. Since texting and driving are illegal, the Upper Merion Police Department wants drivers to practice safe driving at all times. If you download montcopa.org/webcad, you will receive the most up to date incident reports. The content is updated at five minute intervals from the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system.
Every local news agency has a traffic or e-news alerts that connect your mobile device with your local news desk. You could receive as many as three to five alerts depending on the severity of the information. Signing up for these free services is quick and convenient. Utilizing these alerts will keep you informed about local happenings such as, news, weather, and closings. Google your favorite news outlet and look for the e-news alert icon.
Here are some websites that you can check out before you head out.
Visit 511PA.com, a free service that is available 24/7. It provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 700 traffic cameras.
For PennDOT information, visit dot.state.pa.us and follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at twitter.com/511PAPhilly
The FEMA App (smartphone app for mobile devices) contains disaster safety tips, an interactive emergency kit list, emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and open FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers. Visit www.fema.gov/smartphone-app.
Sign up for your Montgomery County ReadyNotifyPA account to receive alerts and emergency notifications. Visit montco.alertpa.org/register.php
The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management is dedicated to ensuring the safety and readiness of all the citizens of Montgomery County. Visit montcopa.org. There is an emergency preparedness guide that residents can download.
UMGA-TV & PIO
The Public Information Office and UMGA-TV work together. We post long-term road projects, emergency alerts, and extended traffic jams. UMGA-TV runs 24/7 on Channel 22 (Comcast) and Channel 33 (Verizon). Here are the ways in which we communicate information.
E-Newsletter – Sign up by visiting www.umtownship.org and click on the Quick Links section in the bottom right hand corner of the website. An E-Blast may be sent to subscribers when warranted.
Connect CTY – This mass notification message is scripted and scheduled to be heard on your phone at a designated time of day. These messages are usually written by a department head and relayed at the discretion of the township manager. Messages include accidents, road closings and traffic delays. The township only utilizes this service for emergencies but exceptions have been made. Residents can signup by visiting umtownship.org and clicking on the Quick Links section in the bottom right hand corner of the website.
Did You Know?
The Public Information Office has relocated to an accessible public space, allowing more ebb and flow from the township departments and the community-at-large. We are using our elevated platform to execute, promote, and connect all electronic, television, and print communications. “Communication is Key” is our slogan and we invite you to email the Public Information Office at if you have any ideas on how we can communicate better.