New 'CODE RED' system installed for emergencies

New 'CODE RED' system installed for emergencies

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Town officials have installed a new Resident Emergency Notification System called "CODE RED" in the event of a town-wide emergency or a localized geographical emergency.

Under the new system, the town's police, fire, emergency management, or other local officials will be able to call, email and text thousands of residents at once notifying them of the emergency and giving instructions if needed. Using Global Informational Systems mapping databases, officials can now target a notification to one street or all streets within a two-mile radius.

Any messages about the safety, property or welfare of town residents will be sent out using the CODE RED system, according to officials. These may include local AMBER alerts, locations of shelters for weather events, emergency instructions due to a large fire or chemical incident, "boil water advisories," or evacuation notices.

The CODE RED system will also allow residents to register for non-emergency and generic town notifications by email and text message.

Communications Director Ralph Nahigian said it is his responsibility to provide technology for officials to use to notify residents of a crisis or concern.

Town officials had to replace a 10-year-old "reverse 911" system "that was outdated, unreliable, and required several key hardware functions to operate," said Nahigian. The system was not usable if something happened to the phone system at the public safety complex.

In Rhode Island, 74 percent of emergency 911 calls were made from a cell phone last year compared to 54 percent the previous year, according to Nahigian. More people use email and texting to communicate and it is town officials' responsibility to ensure those methods are used as they communicate with residents.

Officials are encouraging residents to register because they want them to feel safe in their community. If any resident or business owner has a question about the CODE RED system or needs help registering, they should contact Nahigian by calling 401-231-8505, ext. 303, or emailing car3@northprovidenceri.gov.