Pittsfield, MA - In a collaborative effort to enhance communication and safety, The City of Pittsfield has contracted with a national organization that provides high-speed notifications to all residents in case of an emergency. CodeRED, a web-based system provided by Emergency Communications Network, will roll out in Pittsfield during the month of September, which is National Emergency Preparedness month. Once the system is in place, phone, text and email messages can be sent to thousands of citizens in minutes, targeting specific areas of Pittsfield or the entire city.
City-wide calls are only activated in the event of a serious weather or other emergency. Targeted messages can let residents in a neighborhood know of missing children, road closures, hydrant flushing, mosquito spraying and other news that is specific to them. All residents with public phone numbers will be called in the event of a serious emergency, but residents can opt out of receiving non-emergency calls that are specific to their neighborhood.
The system costs $15,375 to install, with yearly costs at approximately $5,000. CodeRED has already downloaded publicly-available Pittsfield phone numbers. Residents have the option of adding their cellphones to the database and their email addresses so that they can control how they receive important emergency information. City officials said that one of the reasons the CodeRED system was selected is because it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into the system's database.
"CodeRED allows geographically based delivery, which means street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation,” said Police Chief Michael Wynn. “The system works for cell phones too, but we need to have an associated street address to provide relevant messages. CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for inputting information. The data collected will only be used for emergency notification purposes."
Pittsfield Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Robert Czerwinski, noted that CodeRED could have allayed the fears of many residents who were concerned about air contamination during the toxic fire in Ghent, NY. “All emergency officials were overwhelmed by calls from people who were very legitimately worried about air quality,” the chief said. “This system would have enabled us to provide a direct message to the citizens of Pittsfield, and tell them the most appropriate place to get more information.”
Pittsfield residents who would like to add cell phone numbers or email addresses to the CodeRED system can do so by going to either the City of Pittsfield website at www.cityofpittsfield.org, or the Pittsfield Police Department’s website at www.pittsfieldpd.org. City officials will be on hand at 3rdThursday on September 20 to input information for residents who do not have access to the internet. In addition, paper forms will be available at City Hall, the Police Department, the Berkshire Athenaeum and all Fire Stations so that residents can fill out information they would like included in the CodeRED system.
The MyDailyCall product enables caregivers to schedule calls to monitor at-risk individuals. Call recipients then have the ability to confirm they are OK or ask for immediate assistance with a single key press.