Westfield, N.J., February 11, 2009 â€“ Cooper Notification, a platform of Cooper Industries, announced today that Union County, N.J. launched the companyâ€™s patented Roam Secure Alert Network (RSAN), known as UCFirstAlert, a county-wide emergency text and voice messaging system that will communicate critical information to first responders and the public during a crisis. The launch was announced today at a press conference at the Union County Emergency Operations Center in Westfield, N.J.
UCFirstAlert enables city and county officials to send e-mail, text and voice messages to first responders and more than 500,000 citizens via cell phones, pagers, computers and other mass notification media during an emergency. Alerts can be sent simultaneously to all of these devices, providing redundant communications for first responders and increasing the likelihood that each resident will receive the message no matter where they are located.
For the special needs community, UCFirstAlert will feature emergency message delivery via Telecommunications Device for the Deaf/Teletypewriter (TDD/TTY) without pre-registration or administrative configuration.
"Providing information to Union County citizens as quickly as possible is one of the most critical factors in saving lives and preventing injuries during an emergency," said Union County Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. "Whether we are dealing with floods, winter storms, or threats to homeland security, implementing UCFirstAlert will make our county better prepared for any kind of emergency."
Union County residents can sign up for UCFirstAlert for free by texting UNION to 411911 on their cell phone or visiting www.UCFirstAlert.org. Through www.UCFirstAlert.org, users can customize their subscriptions and choose the types of alerts that they wish to receive such as severe weather bulletins, traffic notifications, AMBER alerts and crime information. The public can also receive general news and event information, including event details for county parks and local government updates. For more comprehensive coverage, subscribers can also select multiple municipalities to stay abreast of activity in the communities in which they live, work and visit.
"We are pleased Union County has taken this important step in strengthening emergency notification capabilities for our community," said Scott Hearn, President, Cooper Notification. "Union County joins many other communities around the U.S., like Washington DC, Philadelphia, Orlando, New Orleans and others, who rely on the technology of Cooper Notification for interoperable emergency communications."
As an initiative of 2008, Freeholder Angel G. Estrada spearheaded the project for Union County, which is responsible for implementing UCFirstAlert, a free service for county citizens funded through a grant from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security. Standard text messaging rates may apply.
Utilizing this powerful technology from Cooper Notification, emergency messages can be initiated by the Union County Office of Emergency Management to activate first responders, notify key government officials and alert the entire county or just the region affected by the threat. Alerts also can be sent by any of the countyâ€™s cities, towns, or townships to their residents and bordering municipalities for threats that cross county lines.
Through the Roam Secure Information eXchange (RSIX), Union County and its municipalities can share in real-time daily information and emergency messages with each other as well as other government agencies or regional RSAN systems. "RSIX also connects to local information sources and automates a variety of alerts such as severe weather, traffic, crime information, and river flood stage monitoring systems," said Ratna Reddi, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Cooper Notification. "This is especially essential to Union County as it reduces alerting time by automating alerts related to flooding of the Rahway River, which include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flood warnings and river observation updates from the National Weather Services' Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service."
Cooper Notification has deployed more than 230 RSAN systems across the United States, including major metropolitan cities, counties, state and federal agencies, colleges, airports, and hospitals. These systems play an important role in all-hazards emergency alerting and information sharing among government leadership, first responders, critical infrastructure providers, businesses, and citizens.