Connecticut’s blanket of public safety and security

Connecticut will soon be the first state in the nation to warn residents about dangerous weather, missing persons, natural disasters or other crises using “Reverse 9-1-1” technology.

In an announcement last week, Governor Jodi Rell said that by September 1, 2009, Connecticut will have the nation’s first statewide Emergency Notification System online. The Reverse 9-1-1 system will allow officials to alert some or all of the state’s population to specific emergencies or situations.

“Agencies such as my office, the state police and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will be able to instantly alert people to a wide range of dangers – or to ask them to keep an eye out for a lost child or missing senior,” Gov. Rell said in a statement.

The system has been in the planning stages for a little under a year, Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the Connecticut State Police said in an interview. “The state has been carefully examining how the system would work and how it would benefit the residents of Connecticut,” Lt. Vance said.

Three months ago, the state hired California-based Everbridge, formerly 3n Global, to implement the system, which is customizable based on types of alerts needed to be sent and types of communication devices used to receive the alerts. Residents can be notified based on specifications such as region, type of situation and preferred method of contact.

Individuals with phones in a state directory, usually a landline, can access the system by calling on that phone and they will be able to add additional lines, cell phones, fax numbers, pagers, or e-mail, according to Lt. Vance. “Users could also include other family members under the household account – a child’s or spouse’s cell phone for example. It’s really pretty unique. The system is capable of sending out alerts efficiently and quickly.”

The new system, called Everbridge Aware, also uses map-based GIS capabilities so state officials can quickly target residents in affected geographic areas, the company said.

“This collaborative effort between the State and its individual counties, cities and towns demonstrates Connecticut’s exceptional commitment to the protection of lives and property,” Everbridge Chief Executive, Cinta Putra said in a statement.

In the weeks before and after the system’s launch in September, Lt. Vance said the state is moving to educate as many people as possible about Connecticut’s Emergency Notification System.

“To make it work effectively, we’ve got to make it a point to educate and help citizens understand the system that’s in place. It’s the only way ENS will expand and reach its full potential.”

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