In 2009 Connecticut was the first state in the nation to provide a statewide emergency notification system. The CTAlert Emergency Notification System is powered by the Everbridge Aware emergency notification system application. The system allows public safety officials to help protect lives and property by providing critical information to residents during emergencies and dangerous situations. The system is managed by the DSET, and is part of a comprehensive program to ensure public safety in Connecticut. CTAlert has two main components:
- A geo-notification function allows for alerts to be sent to the public in any geographic area in the state. The system provides powerful map-based GIS capabilities enabling users to quickly target residents in affected geographic areas that could include part of a town, an entire town or towns, or a large area of the state.
- A public safety employee notification function known as "Aware" allows public safety agencies to send messages to improve the coordination of emergency response personnel.
The system is available for use by a number of state agencies and most of the 104 Primary PSAPs in the state. Seven PSAPs have elected not to use CTAlert, but will continue to rely on their existing systems for local alerting. These PSAPs are: the Cheshire Police Department, Darien Police Department, New Fairfield Emergency Communications Center, Newtown Police Department, Norwalk Police Department, Southbury Public Safety and the Stamford Emergency Communications Center.
CTAlert utilizes the Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) database for geo-notifications to the public for life-threatening emergencies. The E9-1-1 data includes only traditional wire-line telephone numbers in the state. A Citizen Opt-In Registration Web Page (CTAlert.gov) is available to the public that allows for communication pathways not included in the E9-1-1 database such as mobile phones, smart phones, wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs), VoIP landlines, email, short message service (SMS), and instant messaging to be included in the CTAlert system. Individuals can specify the contact path order for multiple communication devices and the system will cycle through each and every communication device until messages are delivered and confirmed. At the end of 2017 more than 159,000 households have registered their communication pathways with CTAlert.
The Opt-In web page also allows the public to list up to three additional locations in the state that they wish to also receive alerts about. These locations could be where their children go to school, or where other family members may reside.
In 2011, during Hurricane Irene and Winter Storm Alfred, the CTAlert system was used over 230 times for each storm broadcasting 1,275,000 and 1,993,000 alerts respectively. In 2012 the system was used 290 times during Hurricane Sandy, broadcasting 1,467,000 alerts.
In 2017, 142 CTAlerts were broadcast to the public, totaling 1,588,739 notifications. The types of alerts broadcast included weather information including severe weather warnings, dangerous flooding, downed power lines, missing persons, and criminal activity.