PAJARO, Calif. (KION) - On Thursday morning, residents in Pajaro received emergency text messages from the Monterey County Department of Emergency Management.
The County of Monterey have been sending out emergency alerts for the past couple of days.
The tests will come in different ways including a reverse 9-1-1 which includes text messages.
"We need to be alerted for what can happen in this area," said Teresa Cervantes who lives in Pajaro.
The Public Policy Institute of California says more than 90% of people in the state own a cell phone.
With that in mind, the county says a text message will be the fastest way of getting critical information out to people. This new system the county is testing is slightly different.
"We also are using the we system, which is a wireless emergency alert system. Very unusual to do that. That's usually only done for things like amber alerts. But for this test, we were able to do one," said Maia Carroll, Public Information Officer for the County of Monterey
The county's Department of Emergency Management will be evaluating the new system.
If all goes well, the county will transition to a new alert and warning system by the end of the year.
"From the back end, we're looking at getting a system that will allow us to more send out passengers and emergency information in a more pinpointed way where we can target areas more effectively and have other systems within this alert program that will help us do maps for emergencies in a in a faster manner," said Carroll.
The county will be sending emails for people who do not have a cell phone.
Officials are asking everyone who receives the text messages to participate to help the county gather accurate data, and make sure the system works to serve the community.