Would you and your family be prepared in the event of an emergency?
Three simple and effective steps can help you make sure the answer is “yes:”
Washington Township urges residents to familiarize themselves with these steps through the Resolve to be Ready Campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Residents who follow the Resolve to Be Ready Program are better prepared,” said Township Administrator Jesse Lightle. “The program educates and empowers families and businesses to prepare for and respond to a range of emergencies, including power outages, icy roads and natural disasters.”
A particularly important component of the program is keeping an emergency supply kit both at home and in the car, Lightle said. The Ready.Gov web site provides detailed instructions and checklists to make sure home and business kits are complete.
In the event of an emergency, Washington Township will use these information outlets, to the extent they are available, to provide emergency updates:
1. CodeRED emergency phone notification.
2. Centerville High School radio station, WCWT 107.3 FM
3. Washington Township Facebook notifications
4. Washington Township web site
In order to inform residents, Washington Township uses CodeRED, an emergency alert system that relays information to residents by phone. The high-speed messaging system can deliver customized emergency notification and instructions at a rate of 60,000 calls per hour.
Residential landline telephones automatically receive CodeRED messages, however Washington Township businesses must register if they wish to receive emergency notification. Residents should register if they:
CodeRED is a computer-generated, high-speed messaging system used by Washington Township, Centerville and other area communities through a program coordinated by the Miami Valley Communications Council. On a national level, CodeRED already has proved effective in many emergencies, from child abductions to hurricane alerts.
The city and township have had an agreement since 2005 with Communications Network, Inc., the Florida company that administers CodeRED.
The dialing system will leave emergency messages on voicemail or answering machines. If the dialing system doesn’t reach a person or message system, it will attempt each phone number three times, then try a back-up number if one has been registered. Pagers can not receive CodeRED alerts. The service is provided at no charge to residents.
In an emergency situation, the Township Administrator, City Manager, or their designees, will determine specific areas or neighborhoods to be notified and then create a recorded message that describes the emergency and provides instructions and information.
Potential uses include fires, floods, water boil alerts, missing persons, evacuation notices, crime alerts, terrorist threats, chemical spills, drinking water contamination, viral outbreaks, utility outages and street closures. “We use CodeRED selectively,” says Township Administrator Jesse Lightle. “We utilize it to keep our residents informed.”>
The system may be used along with other emergency communication methods, including WCWT 107.3 FM, she said.
The CodeRED system uses a database of phone numbers obtained from the credit bureau. The list, which is updated quarterly, includes all residents with a landline phone. Local businesses, residents who use a cell phone as a primary phone, and residents who have an unlisted number are encouraged to register with CodeRED in order to receive emergency alerts. The same is true for residents with a TDD/TTY for the hearing impaired in their home.
Residents also may register an alternative phone number such as a work number or cell phone number for back-up. Caregivers and family members may find it helpful to register their phone number as an alternate for someone who is ill or elderly. The CodeRED alert will dial both phone numbers to communicate the emergency message.
In the event of an emergency, residents of Centerville/Washington Township can stay informed by turning their dial to the Centerville High School radio station, WCWT 107.3 FM.
The educational radio station has operated from Centerville High School for many years, however a new frequency -- 107.3 FM --- was assigned in July 2009. The station provides information about early school closures, weather and local emergencies.vIn the past, 1290 WHIO-AM also has provided emergency updates. The station simulcasts at 95.7 FM.
The Centerville High School radio station has moved to a new frequency because a commercial radio station in 2006 requested the school’s previous frequency. WCWT is an FCC regulated low-powered Class D educational radio station and, as such, commercial radio stations can apply for and request a Class D frequency.
Radio One, which made the application, agreed to make WCWT a ‘turnkey’ operation if the school district supported the request. The commercial station has agreed to replace and upgrade WCWT’s antenna, transmitter, processor and expenses incurred along the way, such as legal, engineering and fees.
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