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To ensure residents are notified quickly in the event of an emergency, Atlantic County will conduct a test call of its new emergency notification system this week.
The county recently updated its emergency notification system and is now using CodeRED to deliver messages within minutes to residents, businesses and registered participants in the event of an emergency or time-sensitive issue. Information can be sent to targeted areas or throughout the county.
Calls will be delivered the week of Jan. 27 to residents with landline phone numbers and those who are currently registered. Anyone who wishes to add, delete or update their contact information will be able to do so online at www.aclink.org.
Registrants may choose how they want to be notified, by phone, text, and/or email. If delivery to the primary contact mode fails, the system will automatically try another mode.
"Emergency alerts have become an essential tool for emergency management and law enforcement,” Atlantic County Emergency Management Coordinator Vince Jones said.
The system includes all landline phones in the Verizon database, however, cellular and VoIP (voice over Internet protocols, such as Vonnage) numbers must be individually registered. Those who previously registered do not need to do so again. However, if you are unsure if your number is registered, or if you have changed your number or moved within the last year, you are urged to re-register by accessing the county websites, www.aclink.org or www.readyatlantic.org, and click on the CodeRED link.
CodeRED allows geographically-based delivery. Street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. Each phone number, including cell phones, must have an associated street addresses to provide relevant messages. All collected data is kept strictly confidential and may only be used in the event of an emergency.
“This service is not only for Atlantic County citizens. Many people own second homes here and they are also advised to register to receive emergency alerts about issues that may impact their properties,” Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said.
Incoming alerts will be displayed as "Emergency Communications Network" or by 1-866-419-5000.
Registrants may also choose to receive severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The automated messages warn those in the path of severe weather, including thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash floods. Incoming weather alerts will also be displayed as "Emergency Communications Network" or by 1-800-566-9780.
"Citizens should save one or both of these numbers in their cell phones for easy recognition," Jones advised.
Another important feature is the CodeRED mobile app that can help keep citizens informed regardless of where they are. The system is "Geo-Aware" so it can be utilized by visitors traveling through the area. There are currently more than 50 million citizens within the CodeRED service areas. The mobile app can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play.
"We strongly encourage the public to take advantage of this service. It could mean the difference in saving lives and properties when time is so critical," Levinson said.