DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

December 12, 2013

Police tout safety alert system

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Getting a text message or email about a potential weather or road hazard can keep the community safe.

But when messages come through fast and furious, it can be frustrating to weed out what’s going on and where.

Town Councilor Tom Dolan said last week he receives the important messages through the Nixle service the police department provides to the community.

“This alert service in town is important to the community,” he said. “I signed up for that, but I get a couple a day from Manchester.”

Dolan said it almost seems like spam when it comes to getting the information from a community other than his own.

He said the information is also sometimes not that urgent as he has received messages about events other than public safety issues.

“I get the ones about the reception being held for so and so,” he said. “It just seems more of a nuisance.”

Most information is good to know, even with all the extras, police Chief Bill Hart said.

By signing up online, people can get instant information about public safety issues, road closures, fire alerts, or bad weather sent to their mobile phones or email account.

“It’s a consequence of importance and usefulness of the emergency service through social media,” he said. “But if it’s used all the time, people may stop paying attention.”

Town Councilor Joe Green said the messages are a good resource especially during the winter. Warning people about potential black ice, an accident or power outages can be key.

“We are starting to get into that season,” he said.

Hart said his department is always analyzing how the alert system is working for Londonderry.

“We are always in an assessment phase,” he said. “We are constantly reassessing the service we provide to the community to make sure it’s working well.”

Hart said it’s better to get the information that might be imperative to the community than to be uninformed about what’s going on. He wants people who sign up for the Nixle system to pay attention.

“But don’t cry wolf,” he said,” he said. “We don’t want to be Peter.”

Information on the Nixle alert system can be found at londonderrynh.org.