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Huntington hires new alert system firm

Huntington has a new, upgraded emergency notification system.

On Sunday, the town began using CodeRED, a system by Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Emergency Communications Network, to contact and maintain the database used to notify residents in the event of a public safety emergency.

The town board unanimously approved a three-year contract totaling $98,015.61 last month. Suffolk County uses the same system.

Town officials said they like the CodeRED system because, in addition to landline phones, it lets them deliver messages to cellphones, by text message and through an app to GPS-enabled smartphones, which was not possible before.

The system's success relies on residents, officials said.

"Because we want to ensure that our emergency notifications reach the widest possible audience, we encourage residents and businesses -- even if they have listed numbers -- to register for Huntington Alert," Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said in a news release.The town let its contract with SwiftReach Networks expire following dissatisfaction with them over a boil water alert.

On Dec. 30, the town advised Dix Hills Water District residents to boil water for tasks such as preparing food and cleaning, after coliform bacteria was found. Calls were stopped the same day after town officials could not figure out how to limit the calls only to water district customers.

When town officials reached SwiftReach for help, they said they were told no technicians were available because it was a holiday weekend. SwiftReach officials said that was not true. Sheila Saks, a member of the water district's citizens advisory committee, who was upset over the incident, said it makes sense to work with a company that already works with the county.

"This shows the town is on top of things that really matter," she said. "Hopefully it will prevent a repeat of what happened earlier this year."

Employees from several town departments will be trained in the new system.

To sign up, go to Click on the Huntington Alert icon on the home page. Or call 631-351-3044.

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