A Push for Emergency Prep

    In preparation for the coming hurricane season and other potential emergencies, Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has urged residents by press release to sign up for the town’s emergency communications services. The goal is to establish methods of contact for the dissemination of important and time-sensitive information.
    Individuals and businesses in the Town of Southampton can log on to a secure server through the town’s Web site, SouthamptonTownny.gov, and add or update their contact information. Those without Internet access can call the Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management to supply their information over the phone. Ms. Throne-Holst has promised that the data collected will be used only in emergencies and other instances when communication is vital.
    Portions of the town’s Web site are being overhauled and will soon have links to Facebook and Twitter accounts, so that “friends” and “followers” can access real-time updates regarding emergencies as well as less critical happenings.
    A recent six-hour traffic backup from the closure of two lanes of County Road 39 was cited as an example of how the town needs to be able to send updates via social media regarding detours or closures resulting from road work, accidents, or special events.
    CodeRED, on the other hand, is limited to emergency situations. Residents who register for notification by way of it will be able to receive customized prerecorded messages at home and work or by cellphone. The service can deliver millions of calls, e-mails, and text messages, or it can single out specific neighborhoods, ZIP codes, or commuters.
    In praising the emergency preparedness measures, Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming said William Wilson, the chief of police, did a “stand-up job” during Hurricane Irene last year, especially amid budget and staff cuts. She said town leaders got out ahead of the storm and made the rounds. With regard to evacuations, shelters, and communications, she said, “the town is extremely effective.”