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Port Washington peninsula gets new alert system

Residents of the Port Washington peninsula will be able to receive voice, text and e-mail messages about emergencies and other events through a new mass notification system effective Monday, officials said Friday.

About 38,000 residents on the peninsula, north of Northern Boulevard to the Village of Sands Point, can register phone numbers and e-mail address on Those who register will receive messages on topics including severe weather advisories, missing children and upcoming local elections.

At a Friday morning news conference at Sands Point Village Hall, Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Peter Forman sent a test message that was quickly received on the phones of politicians, police and firefighters in the audience.

As phones beeped and rang, some held up devices to let the room hear the message: "This is a test only. . . . This is not an emergency."

The system will be able to make 1,000 calls a minute, at a cost of about $2 per household per year, Forman said. The municipalities and special districts that are participating are picking up the cost.

Officials said this is the first mass notification system on Long Island that connects municipalities.

Blackboard Connect, which manages the system, has a similar one in place at school districts including North Bellmore, East Meadow and Patchogue-Medford, said Candace Koehler, a spokeswoman for the company.

The flooding predicted for this weekend is an example of the kind of events that would prompt alerts, Forman said. But the system will officially start Monday with a communitywide test call.

Sands Point Village Police Chief Mark Mandel said the system will aid the 21-member force in connecting the small and secluded community during emergencies.


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