Northfield unveils new Code Red alert system

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/21/2016 10:22:31 PM

NORTHFIELD — When Town Administrator Brian Noble heard Hurricane Matthew was headed toward the United States, he pushed to make sure Northfield’s Code Red emergency alert system would be ready in time.

As of Oct. 13, Noble said, the system is ready to use, allowing town officials to send automated texts, emails and phone calls in an emergency.

Noble said Vermont Yankee used to provide Northfield with a Code Red system, as the town was within the nuclear power plant’s emergency planning zone. However, the system was discontinued about four months ago as the plant has been shut down permanently.

Noble said Vermont Yankee alerted Northfield in advance, giving him time to order the town it’s own system in August 2015. Since then, Code Red reps have worked to design the system and add residents’ contact information, finishing in early October.

The system will revolutionize the way town officials communicate emergency information to residents, Noble said, noting that the system is “extraordinarily flexible.”

System operators can choose specific parts of town where residents need to know of an emergency, as opposed to the former system which sent alerts to all the town’s residents.

“Code Red is the standard,” Noble said. “Everyone measures themselves against Code Red.”

Noble said a formal training session with Code Red representatives will be held next week.

Police Chief Robert Leighton and Fire Chief Floyd “Skip” Dunnell III, who is also emergency management director, will be primarily responsible for the alerts.

Noble asks that residents with unlisted numbers or who only have cell phones sign up for alerts on Northfield’s town website (http://www.northfieldma.gov/) starting next week, when he expects a sign-up sheet will be posted.




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