City announces new emergency notification system

Grace Murray

Kent city officials are in the midst of training for a new emergency notification system that will be available to community members in Kent and Franklin Township.

“The Swift911 system will be used by internal control to contact employees and citizens,” said Bill Lillich, safety director for the city of Kent. “It will use loaded data from an online database to send emergency phone calls.”

According to the a Kent press release, Swift911 is an emergency notification system that allows officials to record, broadcast and send voice messages, as well as text messages and emails, to alert residents.

Lillich said the system will primarily be used as an early warning system to notify citizens of safety risks such as a water main break or a flood, not to report criminal behavior.

“Swift911 won’t necessarily be used for a crime alert unless it could pose a threat to a community like an armed robber running into a residential area,” Lillich said.

The Swift911 website lists the following as potential uses: water shortages or restrictions, natural disasters, amber alerts, industrial disasters and terrorist threats.

Residents will receive the notifications in the form of a voice message on their landline, but they are also able to sign up for email or text alerts by visiting, Lillich said.

“Anyone with a hard-line is already registered for the notification system,” Lillich said, “but if [he or she] isn’t interested, the Kent City website can walk them through the deregistration process.”

More than 5,000 phone numbers are already in the local Swift911 system, according to the press release, but Lillich said he hopes to see more people register.

“[City officials] want people to be informed,” Lillich said. “This system is a way to achieve that, and we’ve already been getting good feedback.”

Swift911 is set to be fully operational by May 1, but community members should be receiving a test call or text message in the interim.

For more information about the system, visit or call Lillich at (330) 676-7525.

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].