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Deerfield adopts new emergency system

The town has a new system to contact residents in case of an evacuation, bio-terrorism alert or a road block.

For $4,800 a year, the town is using CodeRED, a new rapid emergency notification system that allows the town to contact its residents in case of an emergency.

“It gives us a way to send out emergency notices,” said Town Administrator Bernie Kubiak. “There is no reliable way to reach our citizens in the event of an emergency using conventional media. There was a time when towns rang church bells or sounded alarms.” The computer program is run by Emergency Communications Network, which provides high-speed outbound notification services.

So far, 2,051 residents who have published telephone numbers are already registered in the system. Residents with unpublished numbers or those who want to register a cell phone or email address have to sign up. This week, 120 residents signed up online.

Residents do have the choice to opt out by signing up for the do-not-call list.

Residents can also choose how they want to be notified: home phone, cell phone, email or text, as well as which notifications they want to receive. All residents are automatically enrolled in the emergency notification, but they can choose whether they want to receive general messages regarding special town events and meetings.

The town can tailor CodeRED to specific areas. For instance, if there is a flood on Mill Village Road, only residents in that neighborhood would be notified. Other notices include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices and missing child reports.

When CodeRED sends a notice, the computer system continues to call, email or text a person until it receives a response.

Residents can sign up for CodeRED at www.deerfieldma.us, or fill out a form at the town hall, South County Senior Center and Tilton Library and drop it off at selectmen’s office in Town Hall.

— KATHLEEN MCKIERNAN

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