By Middlesex County Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios
The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently introduced the Middlesex County Community Notification System, an incredibly robust communications tool that can send thousands of notifications within seconds via phone, text and e-mail messages.
It proved to be an essential and most effective tool in times of emergency, not only for us as a county but for our municipalities as well. During Hurricane Irene, the County on behalf of Dunellen, Helmetta, Milltown, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro and South Amboy, used this system to send urgent messages to residents regarding storm and flood warnings, evacuation orders and boil water advisories. With the county’s help, this system allowed these municipalities to get out critical information quickly and seamlessly.
The success of the system during the hurricane was the impetus behind our latest Shared Services offering: to expand use of this highly capable system for non-emergency events as well.
There are countless uses for Middlesex County’s Community Notification System: Will a parade in town require road closures? Are fire hydrants being flushed in a certain area of town? Has a municipal schedule changed? Or is emergency roadwork being conducted?
And because the county has already purchased and implemented the system, we can offer it to our municipalities as a shared service, while at the same time take advantage of the system’s substantial capabilities.
Program participants will be able to send timely, accurate information via phone, text or e-mail messages to as large or as small a group as needed. Those notifications can be targeted to a specific geographic area because the system uses GIS or Geographic Information System Technology. It is fully supported and backed-up to ensure communications readiness at all times and provides a log of all notifications made.
Old Bridge has become the first town to embrace this expanded use, and the county is working with Monroe Township and others to join as well.
The most critical step in making this the most effective notification system it can be is to get residents, business owners and those who work in Middlesex County to register.
A link to the self-registration page has been placed on the county web site at www.co.middlesex.nj.us. Please note that all personal and contact information entered on the site will be kept confidential and not shared with any third party.
I encourage all who live or work in Middlesex County to take advantage of this effective communications tool. As the number of registrants grows, the effectiveness of the system increases.
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