Nothing is more important during an emergency than clear instructions. Now, you can get time-sensitive alerts wherever you go, with LeboEmergency, powered by CodeRED. LeboEmergency is a customized notification system that lets you pick how you receive alerts about life-threatening situations. These are not road closings, meeting cancellations or trash delays—you can still get those through LeboALERT. LeboEmergency warnings include situations of grave danger, such as active shooters, gas leaks, evacuations, missing persons, chemical leaks and potentially deadly weather.

Here’s how it works: Text LEBO to 99411 or go to mtlebanon.org. Both methods will lead you to a registration page where you can select the kind of alert you’d like to get (text, email or TTY) and where you’d like to get it (landline, cellphone and email addresses). If you need help using a computer, you may call the fire department during business hours at 412-343-3402 and someone will help you with the registration.

LeboEmergency uses software written by CodeRED, a global system that provides high-speed notifications capable of reaching millions of people in minutes.  Mt. Lebanon paid approximately $8,700 this year for the service.

Once signed up, you’ll be ready to get LeboEmergency notices. Mt. Lebanon emergency management staff can send alerts to the whole database or customize them and send them only to addresses that are physically near the danger. Only a small number of authorized emergency personnel are able to send alerts; your information is safe, it will never be sold and you will not receive any advertising or spam.

“In this day and age, people want to be informed and we have that responsibility,” says Fire Chief Nick Sohyda. Emergency management is just one of the fire department’s responsibilities. During high-risk events and disasters, emergency managers pull together police, fire, EMS, public information, other municipal departments and other safety agencies to keep residents safe. Disseminating information is an important early step in the process; however, please know it’s not the only step. “We will do our best to keep you better informed,” Sohyda says. “But our first duty is to protect people at the scene.”

You do not have to be a resident. For example, if you live elsewhere but have a child enrolled in nursery school here or if you have an elderly parent in a care facility or even if you own a business in Mt. Lebanon, LeboEmergency will let you know if there’s a problem and what actions you should take.

You may also choose to download the CodeRED app, which uses mobile technology to message your smartphone about dangers within a certain distance of your location (yes, you can choose the distance.) However, here’s a warning: American Water Co. uses this system to alert customers of water line breaks. These notices are frequent and often not in our immediate area. So decide if the app is the best choice for you.

Even if you don’t choose the app, adding your information to the database will ensure you are notified of important instructions during an emergency. A special note: If you have a home landline, your number may already be in the database, thanks to an emergency communications list Verizon operates, and other lists maintained by the water company and the state of Pennsylvania. But how often are you home? And do you even answer the phone? Better to add cell numbers and email addresses for a full listing so you don’t miss a thing.

After you sign up for LeboEmergency, it’s a good time to tune up your LeboALERT account. LeboALERT will still be used for all kinds of non-emergency notifications. This software will continue to tell you things like special event schedules, street closures and municipal service changes. You can go into your account at any time and change your preference for which notices you want. To access your account, go to mtlebanon.org and click on the myLebo box in the middle of the homepage.

*Both LeboEmergency and LeboALERT are free, but messaging rates may apply depending on your phone carrier and plan.