Uniontown uses emergency mass communication system

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2007

UNIONTOWN &8212; On Friday, residents of Uniontown got their first taste of how emergency communication will be handled in the future, by conducting their first test call with their new mass communication service.

Uniontown implemented the mass communication system Connect-CTY to provide city officials the ability to communicate with all residents regarding time-sensitive and public safety matters, such as unforeseen events or emergencies.

The service allows officials to record, send and track personalized voice messages to thousands of residents, businesses, and local agencies in just minutes, through a single phone call.

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White said there are approximately 1,000 households within the Uniontown city limits that the service can be used for. Primary businesses and residents have already been included in the system, but more people can sign-up to become a part of the service.

The service can be used from any computer with Internet access or just a telephone, so officials can send vital messages from wherever they are located. Approved officials also can track phone numbers reached using a report on the results of outgoing messages.

The system is also equipped to target messages to an unlimited number of groups &8212; everything from mobilizing emergency response teams to coordinating efforts with necessary agencies or volunteers. Authorized users also can use a map on the Connect-CTY system to contact specific geographical locations, sending messages only to the residents within select neighborhoods when needed.

White first heard of the system several years ago while attending a national conference. He said he was immediately interested in a system like it for Uniontown, but did not know if it would be financially viable for the city.

Just a few months ago while attending the Alabama Conference for Black Mayors, White said he was able to talk to a representative of the company and come to an agreement on cost. The system, which was funded by the city, costs about $2 per household a year.

The first test call was a success, White said, and they have already used it to send out information about the city&8217;s holiday activities. In the future, White said, he hopes to get the school systems involved with the system as well.

If residents did not receive the test call, they should visit the city&8217;s Web site at www.uniontownal.org and click on the &8220;SIGN UP NOW &045; SERVICES BY CONNECT-CTY&8221; link to enter their contact information. Residents without Internet access can have their information added into the database by calling 334-628-2011.