The city of Goleta has implemented a new mass notification system to enable officials to communicate with residents and businesses during time-sensitive incidents, including with planned and unforeseen public safety issues. Officials will conduct a community-wide test call Thursday.

The new system, called Goleta City Alert, allows officials to record, send and track personalized voice messages to thousands of residents, businesses and local agencies in just minutes. The city can also send text messages to cell phones, PDAs, e-mail accounts and TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing-impaired. Messages sent in English can also be translated into other languages.

“Goleta City Alert is a powerful communication tool and greatly enhances Goleta’s existing emergency preparedness and response capabilities,” City Manager Dan Singer said Tuesday. “We used the … system to provide information to residents during the Gap Fire. While we had not officially launched the system, we were able to reach out to residents and businesses within a matter of minutes.”

Goleta City Alert enables the city to target messages to an unlimited number of groups — everything from mobilizing emergency response teams to coordinating efforts with necessary agencies or volunteers. Officials can use a map on the system to contact specific geographical locations, sending messages only to the residents and businesses within select neighborhoods when needed.

The program also can be used for public-interest announcements, such as road closures or power outages, officials said.

Publicly available primary residential and business phones in Goleta will automatically be included in the system. Residents can opt in to provide their complete information — up to three phone numbers and two e-mail addresses — and indicate if they have a TTY/TDD device, or if they would like their messages sent in another language.

Click here to register telephone and contact information in the Goleta City Alert system. For more information, call 805.961.7508.

Kirsten Deshler is the city of Goleta’s public information officer.