North Stonington Introduces Non-Emergency Alert System to Improve Communication with Residents | Daily news alerts
NORTH STONINGTON – For members of the Board of Selectmen, keeping citizens informed about community initiatives and other important news can be a daunting task in a small, rural town. A new initiative hopes to make alerting residents as easy as sending a single message.
North Stonington has implemented a non-urgent alert system which is free to residents and will offer the option of receiving a call, text or email for a wide range of events around town, notices of municipal assemblies, referendums and poll information on election day events. like road closures or parades. Receiving the notice is simple and can be done in minutes online.
The alert system was put into operation on Monday with a message sent to early registrants about the city meeting held on Tuesday evening, and first head coach Michael Urgo said the test had proceeded without a hitch.
“Since I have been on the board, communication is something that all elected officials have participated in,” said Urgo. “People communicate in different ways, be it by phone calls, emails or text messages, and it will be another great way to stay informed alongside weekly updates, social media and newspapers, among others.”
The non-urgent system was purchased late last month after unanimous approval from selected members and the Finance Council. The system software is supplied and maintained by mass notification specialist Everbridge, an industry leader in mass notification systems, and is an extension of the city’s emergency alert system, sometimes referred to as 9-1-1 reversed.
The program, which cost around $ 6,000 and was funded by the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds, will remain active for three years, when officials said elected officials would be responsible for determining whether it would be beneficial to continue funding the system from the city’s annual budget.
Urgo and Selectmen Bob Carlson said this week that the initiative is part of an ongoing four-year effort to improve communication with residents. Carlson, who was previously a member of the city’s now defunct communications committee, said it would potentially allow the board to reach residents who were previously slow to receive information through word of mouth or other means. .
“It is sometimes a struggle for elected officials to reach the people of a rural town like ours,” said Carlson, who is running unopposed and will take over as the first elected after the November election.
“There are a lot of families, good families, who go to work every day and come home at night to have dinner and sit by the fire or whatever they like to do while being alone and then wake up and start over. the next day, ”he said. “They are not doing everything possible to determine when a town meeting might take place or the day to day operations of the town. It does not mean that they have no interest and we need to get that information for them.”
Reaching out to these people is important for increasing community participation, and Carlson and Urgo said the system will allow managers to keep them informed without the need to use staff hours and with little disruption to the residents themselves. .
The messages will not be frequent so as not to flood people, Urgo said, and will seek to focus on important events such as a town hall where residents can be invited to vote, referendums or elections, and closures roads or non-urgent matters such as a parade that would impact traffic.
Urgo and Carlson both assured that the system would not be used for partisan purposes or used as a political medium for candidates, officials or parties. Everyone said they would be in favor of developing a policy or proposing changes to the code of ethics if necessary if that became a problem.
“This will be operated with strict guidelines that it remains neutral,” Carlson said. “It cannot be used for political messages, and as a board we will need to maintain an open dialogue to ensure that it is only used correctly.”
To sign up and receive non-emergency alerts from North Stonington, visit member.everbridge.net/index/1691190617440260/#/signup. For more information about the system, visit www.everbridge.com.