Hudson to launch emergency notification system this week

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From staff reports Hudson -- The city will launch its new emergency alert system this week and will test it Nov. 15 between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Through the Global Connect Emergency Alert System, residents and businesses with land-line phones will receive emergency alerts from the city. Residents and business owners also can register to receive emergency alerts from the city on their cell phones or by email. Visit the city's website www.Hudson.oh.us/ to sign up for the emergency alert system. "The Emergency Alert System will allow us to record a voice message and send that message to every telephone number listed in the phone directory within a matter of minutes," according to City Manager Tony Bales. "Whether residents need to be informed of a water main break, fast-moving fire, approaching storm, or other crisis, the Emergency Alert system is the most efficient way to reach our residents with the news." On Nov. 15 between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., all residents and businesses in Hudson with a land-line phone or who have signed up for alerts by cell phone will receive a recorded call stating it is a test of the system. The city asks residents who use cell phones, especially if they no longer have a land line, to sign up with the city to be notified by cell, email or text message in the case of an emergency, no matter where they are at the time of the alert. Residents and business owners can register multiple cell phones and email addresses for each Hudson address. The city says a recent Akron Water Department boil alert in north Hudson, and Hurricane Sandy, demonstrated "the city's need for an effective emergency notification system to alert residents with warnings, information and updates." The city realized it needed a quick way to notify residents after a rash of burglaries in a neighborhood last year, said City Communications Manager Jody Roberts. The city contracted Global Connect, based in New Jersey, to implement the notification system for $5,045 per year, she said. The Hudson City School District uses a similar system, but with a different company, according to Roberts. "We liked this one because not only will it call, it will send emails and text," she said. In an evacuation emergency, it will keep calling listed numbers until someone picks up or will leave a voicemail. The city has worked on the alert system for a number of months and nearly had it in place when Akron issued a boil alert after a waterline break in October, Roberts said. "We didn't want to use it until the city tested it," she said. Part of the Nov. 15 test will determine how long it takes for the message to be received by residents, Roberts said. "We will gauge how fast calls go through and do we need to adjust it," she said. The alert system can notify residents about floods, weather, evacuations and other urgent situations, but it won't notify residents about road closures unless it is a major one. The system can target smaller areas or neighborhoods within the city, Roberts said. If there is a rash of crimes in a neighborhood, the call can give details and ask residents to report any suspicious person or activity. Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com Phone: 330-541-9434

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