ORANGE - The police database of emergency contact phone numbers used to spread time-sensitive warnings to Connecticut residents is shrinking as people turn away from traditional landlines and toward cellphones, officials in Orange say.

Most police departments can send automated warning calls within minutes of an emergency or disaster situation, according to Anthony Cuozzo, an assistant chief with the Orange Department of Police. But unlike landlines, cellphone numbers must be manually added to the database, he says. 

Right now, very few people have registered their cellphones with CT Alert, which not only presents a problem for police trying to send emergency messages, but also bogs down 911 call centers as residents dial up in search of information during disasters, Cuozzo says.

Police say they don't automatically have cellphones in the database because of the high amount of carriers and how frequently people switch numbers.