Las Cruces – One form of emergency communication that remained functional for many residents during Tuesday's loss of Qwest telephone and Internet service was law enforcement's use of Nixle - the communications service that can keep residents informed of vital information via cell phone text messaging service.
During Tuesday's loss of Qwest services, Nixle was used to send news and information to its subscribers who were not affected by the telephone and Internet outage. Many of the Nixle subscribers received text messages on their cell phones that included replacement phone numbers being used while the emergency 911 number was inoperable.
The Las Cruces Police Department and the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority are capable of sending out news via Nixle to anyone who signs up for the free service. Nixle messages can be received as text on cell phones, by e-mail or on the Internet.
Registering with Nixle is free and available to anyone who can receive text messages or e-mail. Anyone with Internet access can read local alerts online on Nixle's Website. To register for the free service, log into www.Nixle.com and click on the "Citizens - Register Here" link. The Nixle service is free of charge but standard text messaging rates, in accordance with the user's cell phone plan, do apply.
Police and first responders also can use Nixle to send messages to residents who reside within a quarter mile radius of a specific address. This feature could be beneficial in alerting residents of neighborhood-specific information such as a gas or water line break.
Nixle's registration process is simple but directions need to be followed carefully to specify what type of information the user wishes to receive. It is recommended that Las Cruces and Dona Ana County residents sign up to receive all "Community Messages," "Advisories" and "Alerts."