2007-12-07 / Community

Emergency Alert Pilot Coming To Rockaway

By Nicholas Briano

Rockaway has been handpicked by Mayor Bloomberg to participate in a special pilot program designed to transmit emergency and natural disaster information through e-mail and text messages.

The six-month pilot program, called Notify NYC, is open to all Rockaway residents who wish to participate in an effort to determine if the system if effective enough to incorporate city-wide. The mayor, in fulfillment of a campaign promise, is integrating the notification system in Rockaway and hopes that the different communication technologies available will boost New York City's emergency services system.

"Notify NYC will give New Yorkers in the pilot communities access to information, while serving as a proving ground for different technologies that could one day benefit the entire city," Mayor Bloomberg said in a press release this week.

The third aspect of the program is a reverse-911 system that would automatically dial numbers, citywide, in the event of an emergency or disaster. Rockaway is only involved in the e-mail and text message part of the program; however, other areas in the Bronx and Staten Island will be the subject of the reverse-911 testing.

The mayor says that emergency notifications during the pilot program will be limited to the impacted communities. Therefore, if Rockaway was to be subject of major costal flooding, the participants will be directly contacted in Rockaway with the appropriate notification messages in their e-mail and on their cell phones. The system will also notify residents about municipal emergencies such as blackouts and watermain breaks.

According to the mayor, Rockaway was chosen because of the tendency for severe flooding and beach erosion. Notify NYC is now open for participants at nyc.gov and will officially start sending out relevant alerts beginning December 10.

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