Sussex County Emergency Management Coordinator Sheriff Robert Untig announces that Sussex County has just added a new capability to its emergency service capacity for the residents of and visitors to the county.
Sussex County Emergency Management Coordinator Sheriff Robert Untig announces that Sussex County has just added a new capability to its emergency service capacity for the residents of and visitors to the county. Using grant funding from the State Homeland Security Grant program, the 'Community Alerting System' will enable authorized public officials to notify the public of imminent life/property threat emergencies by computer-generated telephone calls to all registered telephones in Sussex County.
The Freeholders authorized a contract with Global Connect Inc. from Mays Landing, New Jersey, to provide the service.
Over forty emergency services and communications personnel received training on use of the system last week at the Sussex County Community College. Those authorized to send out an emergency notification will be provided with direct access to the system which includes a high level of security.
Some 88,000 home and business telephones of the Verizon, Embarq (CenturyLink) and Warwick Valley Telephone systems are already in the database. Cellular phones can be added by going to the Website at sussexcountysheriff.com and click on the "Community Alert System" link.
It is important for everyone to note the following precautions: The system will function unless telephone service is specifically disrupted. This will include times when there are power outages. However, most people have telephone answering systems that use a power supply to receive phone calls. Those phones will not receive the alerts when power is disrupted. Therefore, as per FEMA readiness guidelines, all homes and businesses should have at least one "hardwired" telephone capable of working in power outages. A 'hardwired' telephone is one that plugs directly into the phone jack on the wall.
Those people who use a computer-based phone system should have an "uninterrupted power supply' to assure continuous telephone contact and should check with their alternative phone provider to make sure they access the 9-1-1 system.
The system will only be activated by authorized personnel and protocols will be followed. It will only be used in an emergency and it includes a mapping feature that will permit notifications in specific areas of the county or any municipality.
There is currently a Spanish language capability and other languages will be added soon.
Preliminarily, the Community Alert System was activated on Monday, August 3 for a major water main break on Rt. #206 and on Tuesday, August 4 for an area of live wires down after a 'micro burst', both in Andover Borough, and for a National Weather Service "Tornado Warning" in the northwestern part of the county.
The system will be refined but will be in full effect as of August 1st.