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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — The Florida Department of Corrections is launching a new automated system to alert residents living near a state correctional facility in the event of an emergency.

The new ALERT Notification Service will keep residents informed of prison escapes, and can also be used in other emergency situations, such as when an Amber or Silver Alert is issued.

Residents can call a toll-free hotline 866-358-5977 and register their phone or fax number and the facility’s zip code.

Registrants will receive detailed information about an escapee including a physical description and the time of the escape. The automated calls will also relay specific information on other emergencies that could impact nearby homes.

“This continues our commitment to ensure the safety of citizens living near one of our facilities,” said Department of Correction Secretary Ken Tucker. “We work very hard to keep our facilities safe for everyone. This new service makes it possible for us to alert citizens at a moment’s notice if problems arise.”

Notifications messages aren’t limited to those living near a specific institution. When needed, notifications will be sent to all registrants across the state. If the registrant moves, they can use the automated line to update their registration information.

“The ALERT Notification Service will also benefit correctional facilities,” added Tucker. “As residents receive offender descriptions, they can be the additional eyes and ears that can help us locate a missing inmate.”

Escapes from the secure perimeter of a prison are rare, with the last one occurring in 2005.



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