NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — September is National Preparedness Month, and Metro Nashville leaders want people to be ready for emergencies that are natural or man-made.

There are incidents of mass shootings nationwide and there was a recent case in Memphis where a shooter was actively driving around and law enforcement urged residents to shelter in place. That’s why Office of Emergency Management Chief William Swann said he’s encouraging people to sign up for the MEANS public safety program.

“It’s just a way of being better prepared for anything that happens. As you see around the world, around the country, with mass shootings or incidents that we had locally from bombings to what-have-you, any tool that you could use to make you safe I would say, do it,” said Chief Swann. “I know I have it, my family has it. And we encourage everyone else to do it.”

The Metro Emergency Alert and Notification System (MEANS) was launched in 2019. It enables Metro to alert people to safety actions they can take when there’s danger. When you register and provide your contact information, MEANS allows emergency officials to provide critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as criminal activity and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. You can also sign up for weather notifications that get passed through from the National Weather Service.

“It can be anything from what we consider an imminent threat to safety, along with active shooter, missing person, weather alerts, and then we can utilize it in a way that we can put it in specific areas, like you would think of a polygon system or, or a circle, or free form drawing area,” said Chief Swann.

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It has the ability to not only alert people who have signed up and opted in but in an emergency they can alert everyone in an area based on location. That includes people who may be visiting from out of town, which is vital in a city like Nashville that’s a top destination for tourists.

“We just encourage everyone to definitely sign up, again, to stay alert, stay alive,” Chief Swann said. “We will do our part as far as serving the public. That’s what we get paid for it. And that’s what we love doing.”

CLICK HERE to sign up for the MEANS program. People can elect to get alerts Get the alerts by way of cell or landline phone call, text, email or TTY.