NORTH ADAMS -- City residents who do not have published Verizon phone numbers associated with land lines at their homes are being urged to register for CodeRED, a new phone-based emergency and community alert system that will replace the city'sreverse e911 call system Sept. 18.
"If you have an unpublished or unlisted phone number, use your cell phone as your primary phone or have a phone through Time Warner, you will need to register your phone number in our new data base," Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco said during Tuesday night's City Council meeting, where he demonstrated how to sign up for the system.
City residents and business owners can register their phone numbers by clicking on the CodeRED link on the city's website, www.northadams-ma.gov, or directly at https://cne.conderedweb.com. For those without home computers, access to the online registration form and assistance will be available at the North Adams Public Library and at the Mary Spitzer Senior Center.
"People can also call the Public Safety Department at 413-662-3102," he said.
The new alert system is specifically for city residents and businesses; however, Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said any Williamstown or Clarksburg residents who are part of the city's water system should also register, as CodeRED will be used to make water users aware of main breaks and
Morocco said the city already has 6,000 phone numbers in the new database, based on its current system, but those numbers all belong to Verizon customers with home phone service. Anyone who has changed their phone number in the last year should also register for the system.
"When we think of things that can happen, like Hurricane Irene or even the water main break we had a few months ago, or a snow emergency, it's really important to have a system like this," he said. "When we use the reverse 911 system, it can take up to a day to two days to get the call out to everyone in our system. With this new system, which is very flexible, we're able to get the message out to everyone in the database in about 15 minutes."
The commissioner added, "This is a tremendous upgrade to our reverse 911 system. We purchased the hardware and software for that system in 1999 for $32,000 and it is now obsolete."
Another benefit of the system, Morocco said, is the flexibility in the way residents can receive the alerts -- on their home phones or cell phones, or as a text message or email. It also allows for messages to be sent only to specific segments of the city, allowing officials to target neighborhoods with specific messages or alerts.
While the system is limited to city residents and businesses, the city's Management Information Systems Director Kathy Wall said those who work in the city or live in neighboring towns can download CodeRED's free mobile app, which will pick up alerts issued within a 10-mile radius of the individual's phone.
"The mobile app will work anywhere the CodeRED system is being used," she said. "Greenfield, Pittsfield and Columbia County [in New York] either already have this system or are coming on board with it soon."
Alcombright clarified that the system, which is a subscription-based software system, will be paid for with funds from the city's capital budget. The annual subscription cost will also come out of the capital budget. The system is not part of the recently approved technology upgrades being funded through the city's technology account, as previously suggested, he said.
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