LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Sharon Monroe barely had time to run for cover when a tornado ripped through her Lufkin neighborhood last year.
"Until I heard the tornado actually went to my front door, I didn't know that there was one in the vicinity or that had touched down," Sharon Monroe said.
The city is counting on Everbridge Aware for Citizen Alerts to change that.
Using the city's 911 database, the system sends emergency messages to residents.
"One of the beauties of the system is you can put in like five addresses," Lufkin Deputy City Manager Keith Wright said. "Say I'm concerned about my grandmother, I can put her address in or my children where they go to school, I can put that address in, so if something happens at one of those locations I would be notified."
With two kids in school, Antonio Luna likes the idea.
"Right now I'm at home, they're at school and if something is going to happen or is happening it would be great to give us a call," he said.
Citizens are automatically enrolled for emergency alerts on their land line.
Wright says the system can alert the entire city, a city block, or even a few homes and you can customize that notification where they call your cell phone or they even send you a text message.
"You can prioritize your contact methods such as, if I want to be contacted first by cell phone, I can say that's priority one," Wright said.
The Internet-based system also gives residents the option of other notifications -- like trash pick-up, water outages, and road closures.
"Sometimes, I call the city to say you know if I have some leaves or trash about coming to pick them up or when are they going to do that because we really don't have any information coming out about that any more in written form," Monroe said.
From trash to tornadoes, the city hopes a phone call, text, email, or fax will keep residents safer.