The town’s emergency notification system worked fairly well during Hurricane Irene, but town officials say they believe it can reach more people.
So First Selectman Mary Ann Drayton-Rogers and Fire Chief Scott Pelletier, the town’s fire marshal and emergency management director, are trying to educate residents about the benefits of signing up for the system, known as CodeRed, and how to properly do so. The system can be used for severe snow storms, dangerous ice conditions, evacuations, Amber or Silver alerts, or other emergencies, officials said.
In the following news release submitted to local media, Pelletier and Drayton-Rogers explain the benefits of the system:
The CodeRed system provides town officials the ability to quickly deliver messages to targeted areas or the entire town as needed. During the Hurricane Irene event which occurred on Aug. 27 and 28, the emergency system was used to notify residents 11 times, according to the release. Some calls went out to residents along the waters edge of the Housatonic River and several calls were sent out townwide.
Drayton-Rogers said the system is only as good as the telephone number system supporting them.
“If your number is not in the database, you will not be called,” she said, adding that CodeRed was selected in part because it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into the system’s database. “No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included.”
Those without Internet access may go to Town Hall Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to complete a form that will be included into the system.
Information required includes first and last name, street address (no P.O. boxes), town, state, zip code and primary phone number; additional phone numbers can be entered too. Officials strongly recommend that people add a cell phone because land lines can be ineffective during an emergency such as the recent hurricane.
All businesses should register, as well as individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, those who have changed their phone numbers and/or addresses within the past year, and those who use a cell phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.
Pelletier said CodeRed allows geographically-based delivery, meaning street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. The system works for cell phones, too, but Pelletier said officials need corresponding street addresses to provide relevant messages.
“This is used along the Route 34, Roosevelt Drive, area below the Stevenson Dam when flooding is a problem,” he said.
He said the information is easy to upload and is secure: the data collected will only be used for emergency notification. Anyone with questions is asked to call Pelletier at 203.881.5230.