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Ref: Trenton, New Jersey announces to emergency alert system

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Trenton acts on emergency alert plan

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
TRENTON -- When an emergency arises that merits mass notification of city residents, every household in Trenton will receive a phone call or e-mail from Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.

This is the future that Palmer painted for the city yesterday when he announced the launch of a rapid phone and e-mail system designed to alert city residents of emergency conditions.

Whether it's the threat of a flood, a water-main break, a chemical spill or a gentle reminder to not put your garbage out on the curb during a holiday, Palmer's messages will reach you on your land line, by Internet or cell phone.

"In this post 9/11 environment, Trenton's (emergency response) system gives us the rapid response we need," Palmer said during a press conference.

The rapid emergency response system, which is similar to reverse 9-1-1, is essential for Trenton because it's a city prone to flooding, Palmer said.

Since 2004, the city has experienced three Delaware River floods.

Trenton is the first city in New Jersey to implement the Connect-CTY mass notification system, which is used in more than 11,000 communities nationwide, according to Natasha Rabe, the company's chief business officer.

The system is now widely available to all city residents who may choose to be contacted via the Internet, land lines or cell phones, Rabe said.

Residents will be able to select messages in Spanish or English and, in case of a busy phone line, the system will automatically dial a phone number for up to an hour, Rabe said.

The Connect-CTY system was developed by the NTI Group of Sherman Oaks, Ca. The system costs $56,000 for a year or an estimated $2 for every household, according to Kent Ashworth, public information officer for the city.

The contract with the NTI Group will be renewed each year, Ashworth said.

Palmer said he hopes the system will aid city officials in preparing for potential bio-terror and pandemic flu outbreaks.

Aside from alerting residents in case of an emergency, the system will be used to inform residents of activities such as free flu clinics, Palmer said.

Palmer will make a test phone call to all city households at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

That same day, firefighters will install smoke detectors for residents free of charge and will take the opportunity to inform them of the rapid response system, he said.

In an effort to spread the word to every city resident, a series of notices will be mailed out with water bills. Residents may also obtain more information and request their preferred method of notification on the city's Web site.

For more information, visit

Contact Rose Y. Colón at or (609) 989-5702.

© 2007 The Times of Trenton© 2007 All Rights Reserved.

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