RICHMOND (KCBS) – This week’s fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond has led to an unprecedented number of residents in Contra Costa County signing up to be notified of emergencies with voice alerts.

Katherine Hern with the Community Warning System, Contra Costa County said she’s never seen so many people sign up for emergency voice alerts in a 24-hour period.

“We’ve had 971 entries and additional registrations for our cellphone alerting,” she said.

Hern said she believes this is directly connected to the smoke and fire that spewed out of the Chevron refinery on Monday. She said that sending computerized phone messages to a landline can be problematic.

“When you’re calling out 20,000 people at a time, it has become one of those devices that is not as efficient as some of our newer broadcast technologies such as Twitter, Facebook or any other social media,” said Hern.

Anyone interested in getting voice alerts sent to their cellphones should contact the Contra Costa Community Warning System office or go to their website for further information.

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