Watertown now has a new emergency notification system which will allow people to be alerted about various emergencies by cell phone, home phone, email, text message and more, said Watertown Fire Chief Mario Orangio.
The new system, called Everbridge Aware for Citizen Alerts, will allow town officials to communicate with thousands of businesses and residents in minutes in an emergency.
"We have a commitment to our citizens to protect them from any danger that threatens our community. The ability to reach all residents quickly during an emergency to warn them and provide guidance is critical to upholding that commitment, which is why we are rolling out WatertownALERT," Orangio said. "The Everbridge emergency notification system ensures the Town will be able to react accurately and efficiently in a natural disaster or other crisis. In addition, it is an effective method of providing timely non-emergency messages to help keep our residents informed."
The new system costs about $13,000 a year, Orangio said, and replaces the Reverse 911 system.
WatertownALERT will send messages to residents about severe weather, fires, floods, toxic environmental issues and other emergencies. Messages can be sent to residents on any communication path desired - cell phone, home phone, email, text messaging, fax, pager, PDA and more. Residents can sign up to tailor the way they receive information, or to opt out of receiving the alerts, Orangio said. Residents who do not sign up and have listed phone numbers will receive notifications to their residences automatically, he said.
The system was already used once, Orangio said.
"Although at the time there was no one signed up for it, we did threatened the area with success," Orangio said. "The messages were sent out to businesses and residences listed in the white pages."
The Town also plans to use the system to notify residents about other important activities, such as road closures, water utility maintenance and other important non-emergency information, Orangio said.
Residents can sign up for WatertownALERT by visiting www.watertown-ma.gov and clicking on the "Notification Sign Up" button.