Town registers 3,000 calls in 36 hours

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:17

    Warwick — Did you get a call, e-mail or text from Town Hall during tropical storm Irene? Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton is urging all residents to sign up for the reverse 911 system. Installed almost six years ago, this notification system is the most rapid way to receive community alerts, bulletins and warnings via telephone, fax, e-mail or text. On Saturday of the storm, the supervisor used to the system for a storm preparation notice, the state of emergency declaration, a boil water notice and its lifting, and a road closing notice. As more residents enroll in reverse 911, the number calling Town Hall for information during an emergency should decline. During the first 36 hours of tropical storm Irene, the town received nearly 3,000 calls. Volunteers, Police Chief Thomas McGovern and Sweeton worked in shifts to answer calls. “We have over 6,200 numbers and another 500 e-mails,” Sweeton said. He also is encouraging all of the nearly 10,000 households in town to sign up, especially for e-mail and text notifications. The town board has used the system during storms, road failures, evacuations, as well as municipal service disruptions such as water main breaks. Notifications using e-mail and text messages are free of charge to the town, which budgets for the service annually. “The town pays a monthly fee of $375 and when phoning, we pay a 7 cents per minute charge,” said Sweeton. “During an emergency we do not charge any village for notices they need send out. Sweeton added that the town is working with SwitfReach Networks to correct a system glitch discovered during Irene. “When we widened the radius we did capture the village residents missed the first time,” said Sweeton. To enroll in reverse 911, residents can sign up or print the form online at - Birgit Bogler