Guilford has made the decision to purchase its own emergency notification system that will allow officials to update residents via phone, text messages, email, and social media about impending emergencies-or even impending inconveniences.
The new system gives the town the ability to communicate directly with the public for unlimited messaging on any issue including storm, flooding, hurricane, and evacuation updates. The old system, which was owned by the State of Connecticut, could only be used in the case of an emergency.
"A perfect example of when this program would have been used in town was on Fourth of July this year-the fireworks were postponed and we could have notified the entire town using this system if we had it at the time," explained Guilford Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Mike Selmani.
Selmani has worked to customize the new program specifically to Guilford's needs and is in the process of finishing up the implementation process and getting everything online for residents to use.
The upgraded system will keep people in Guilford up to date and informed about important town information and emergency situations. Residents who sign up for the program will have a direct link into the Everbridge program, which allows customers, on one interface, to broadcast any type of emergency or mass notification, explained Selmani. The town purchased the program for $7,938 with an annual fee of $5,292. This money came from Guilford's Operating Fund.
First Selectman Joe Mazza said, "This is money well spent, but it will only work if people sign up."
He added, "This is something I have been pushing for and I think it gives us another tool in our tool belt to keep our citizens safe and informed."
Currently resident information has been uploaded into the system through the white pages and yellow pages. Residents who want other contact numbers (such as work numbers, cell numbers, and additional emails) used should visit town, website, www.ci.guilford.ct.us. There is also a TTY function for the hearing impaired.
"This is wonderful software and I think it will be instrumental in keeping people in town informed when they need to be," said Salmani. "Now all the information they need will literally be right in their pocket."