State emergency HQ gets new alert system
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—Massachusetts’ newly renovated State Emergency Operations Center also has a new emergency alert and messaging technology.
The free, mobile application, originally developed to let smartphone users know when they’re close to their favorite stores, has branched out to provide emergency alerts for end users, including the University of New Hampshire, but this is the first time that year-old Nashua, N.H.-based Ping4 has provided a statewide emergency application, the company said Friday.
Emergency notifications will include severe weather warnings, missing persons, terror threats, crimes in progress and urgent federal communications. Mike Welts, Ping4 senior vice president of marketing, said in a prepared statement that the company presented the idea in April, and based on the damage last year in the central Massachusetts area from tornados, Hurricane Irene and a surprise October blizzard, the state was eager to adopt it.
“This newly added and innovative technology will allow public safety entities throughout the Commonwealth to not only alert citizens of an impending problem, but also push out many forms of specific information with detailed steps to help ensure their safety,” said Lt. Governor Timothy Murray.
The operations center has been upgraded for the first time since it was built in the 1960s, according to a statement from the governor’s office. Improvements enhance MEMA’s abilities during disasters and emergencies to maintain situational awareness, coordinate state response and recovery efforts—including support to cities and towns—facilitate intrastate and interstate mutual aid and facilitate requests for assistance from the federal government, the governor’s office said.
American Alarm & Communications, certified as a Homeland Security provider for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, provided access control, video and other security technology and services for the upgrade.