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April 24. 2013 2:09AM

Nashua says yes to city alerts

NASHUA - Aldermen on Tuesday authorized a citywide notification system that will alert citizens to critical information in the event of an emergency.

With a unanimous vote, the Board of Aldermen approved a $108,000 contract with Emergency Communications Network, LLC for its CodeRED notification system. There was little discussion about the proposal, which was previously reviewed in depth by the aldermanic Finance Committee.

Alderman David Deane explained that all city departments - with the exception of the Nashua School District - will use the new system, including city police and fire officials.

Although the schools use a different notification system, Alderman Brian McCarthy, board president, said officials will eventually be looking to merge the city and school alert notification systems once the contracts allow for that change.

A three-year contract for the CodeRED system, which equates to $36,000 annually, was approved.

Soon, residents and businesses will be able to subscribe to all of the electronic alerts, or choose specific alerts such as weather advisories, electrical outage data, road closures and other pertinent information, according to Justin Kates, the city's emergency management director.

Kates said previously that every landline phone in Nashua will be automatically subscribed to the alerts, while residents with cell phones will have to subscribe manually.

Residents will be contacted via their home phones or cell phones with alert voice messages, text messages and/or emails, he said.

The high-speed notification system has massive dialing capabilities, and can call thousands of subscribers in minutes, according to its website.

Last week, in the midst of the Boston bombings, Kates said it is important that Nashua have a citywide alert notification system if an incident like that were to happen in Nashua.

"Seconds really count," said Kates. " ... The instant notification can save lives."

Until the automatic notification system is up and running - which Kates hopes will be on July 1 residents can still have access to immediate emergency alerts at www.gonashua.com.

khoughton@newstote.com


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