Is an ENS Better Than Email or Twitter for Critical Communications?
Count Chatham, New Jersey among the towns that has benefited from an emergency notification system (ENS). The Chatham Borough uses emergency alerts powered by Everbridge to keep its constituents up to date about a wide variety of situations — everything from bear sightings to tornadoes.
Steve Williams, the borough’s deputy coordinator-emergency management officer, said that non-critical and urgent alerts are sent to individuals when they sign up for AlertChathamBorough. In addition, users can receive notifications from several categories, including:
• Missing persons
• Power outages
• Road closures
• Severe weather
• Water outages
New Jersey Hills reports that signups for AlertChathamBorough began in February, and to date, more Chatham residents receive severe weather updates than any other type of alerts. The Everbridge ENS is free for respondents, which has helped it become an appealing option to large groups of residents throughout the region as well.
Since the borough switched to Everbridge, it no longer relies on emails or Twitter to send notifications to respondents. “We used to use Twitter and email [for notifications],” Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris said. “The email notification [system] broke and that’s why we went to Twitter, and some people didn’t like to use Twitter, so we decided it [was] best to go with AlertChathamBorough.”
According to the Chatham Patch, this borough leads Morris County municipalities in the number of AlertChathamBorough notifications sent to respondents. The platform is fast and simple to use, allowing Chatham officials to communicate with thousands of residents and businesses within minutes of a minor or life-threatening situation.
Williams said that the borough also utilizes the critical communication platform to send meeting agendas, minutes and updates. Tailored messages help ensure that respondents only get the updates they want. “You don’t have to get [anything] you’re not interested in,” Chatham Borough Councilman Gerald Helfrich added. “We’re not throwing everything at everybody.”
Meanwhile, Harris emphasized that AlertChathamBorough is a “critical” service for Chatham residents. It takes less than five minutes to sign up for AlertChathamBorough, he added, and the platform can help individuals stay safe in emergencies.