New Providence Expands Emergency Communications
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 • 10:56am
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Almost a year to the day after Hurricane Sandy buckled New Jersey, causing destruction and hardship, borough officials received an update on expanded methods of emergency communications during a major event.
In addition to Code RED, which has been in effect for a couple of years, Public Information Officer Cindy Reis told borough council members of the addition of social media to provide timely emergency updates to residents.
The borough has established a Twitter account (@newprovnj) and a Facebook page (Facebook.com/Newprovnj) to provide brief emergency updates, Reis said.
Limited to 140 characters, the Twitter account can provide brief updates and links to other information resources such as JCP&L, Red Cross and FEMA. There is also a link on the borough’s home page website.
Reis said the borough recently developed a Facebook page that allows for outgoing communications but does not allow commands or posts from users. The page is updated automatically whenever a special notice, news or calendar item is added to the borough’s website or a Tweet is sent which can be accessed through the borough’s website.
Reis said that, during the past few years, Code RED had been the primary means of communications during emergencies.
Reis emphasized that residents should sign up through the borough website and include text and email contact information. She added that since the system will not duplicate information, residents unsure of their status should register again.
Councilman Gary Kapner said land lines can fail during a power outage and urged residents to register in more than one place--including cell phone numbers, text and email contact information.
The borough’s municipal center has an emergency generator which allows Code RED messages to be sent even if there are power outages in town.
In response to a councilman’s question, Reis said there are currently more than 8,000 phone numbers and email addresses registered on Code RED.
She described the current efforts as an ongoing process. “We will learn new and better ways as we go along,” Reis said.
During the public hearing session, former Mayor Al Morgan alerted council members to a fundraising pancake breakfast to benefit 8-year-old borough resident Lucas Reiling, who has been fighting brain cancer most of his life.
Morgan said 100 percent of the funds collected will go to the Reiling family, whose needs far exceed insurance coverage with necessities like oxygen, occupational, physical, speech and equine therapies. Other expenses include walkers, strollers, push chairs, tutors and alternative treatment.
Called “Lions for Lucas,” the event will be held at the William Paca Club on Sunday, Nov. 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Morgan said the Paca Club has donated the use of its facility and the Prestige Diner will donate the pancake batter. Other borough businesses will also provide additional items.
The event is sponsored by the New Providence Lions Club.