Residents in the town and village of Hamburg will now receive instant alerts when a situation arises, as a means to keep people safer.
This as a result of the Town of Hamburg joining CodeRED, a Florida based company that keep residents up-to-date if a public safety situation happens.
“We saw it recently within our own community,” said Hamburg Town Supervisor Steven Walters.
In 2012, a case that started at Erie County Medical Center when Dr. Timothy Jorden shot and killed his girlfriend, continued with a manhunt that ended when Jorden’s body was found near his home in Lakeview after he committed suicide.
That situation led the town to continue to believe what it had for a while.
“We need a better way to inform the public,” Walters said.
Hamburg Mayor Thomas Moses, Sr., said the system has already worked in the village after a man who was believed to be suicidal and armed was on the loose in the village last Wednesday (June 19).
Each Wednesday, there is a concert at Memorial Park, and the mayor said the system helped keep village residents notified of what was taking place.
“We had people in the park. It let them know what was going on,” Moses said.
The situation ended without anyone getting harmed when the man was found at Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park. An alert telephone call was sent to residents in the village, and they received a follow-up call when the situation ended.
Sean Crotty, deputy emergency manager for the Town of Hamburg, said for years, the town has been reactive when it comes to emergency situations.
“That is not always the best way,” Crotty said, adding this will allow the town to be proactive.
Walters and Crotty both said that discussion on moving to this type of system began in 2006, when Ralph “Bucky” Phillips escaped from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden and was a fugitive for several months. The manhunt went from Alden to near the Pennsylvania state line.
This included looking for Phillips on a train that was stopped in Hamburg.
“We started the endeavor way back to the Bucky Phillips days,” Crotty said.
“Why is there a train stopped right behind our neighborhood surrounded with police?” Walters said was asked by people at that time.
Now, if a similar incident happened, an alert could be sent out instantly which would update nearby residents. “Our goal is public safety,” Crotty said.
According to Crotty, when the incident happened last week, about 22,000 people received telephone calls during the ssearch, which lasted six hours.
There is also an App that can be downloaded – either through iTunes or Google Play – for the CodeRED system, which can send alerts to your phone. When you sign up, you can have text messages or telephone calls sent, and you can set it up to go to your home and/or cell phone.
“It’s a free App,” Crotty said.
An aspect of the App that Crotty said is a nice feature is that because this system is nationwide, if you are anywhere else in the country, you will also be notified of what is taking place if there is an emergency alert in that community if they are part of CodeRED.
If for example, you are in Florida and there is a weather-related emergency, if you have the App, it will let you know because the ping from the cell tower will connect to your phone. At the same time, if you are out of town and an emergency happens in Hamburg, you will still receive notification because you would be signed up for the system.
Walters said another nice feature for residents in the town and village of Hamburg will be that they will be notified if anything happens with programs for youth, recreation or senior services.
He said if there is inclement weather, and the Adult Daycare facility is closed, instead of trying to make 50 or 60 telephone calls, one alert call can be sent at the same time. “Now it is one phone call. A much more efficient system,” Walters said.
And also if something such as streets closed, an alert will be sent out.
For Blasdell residents, they will be alerted if there are emergencies, but Walters said the village decided not to join the system, so residents in that community will not receive other alerts that those in Hamburg will be able to.
Crotty said a test will of the system will be performed between 1 and 3 p.m. on Monday, July 1. If you do not receive a telephone call, then go to the website www.townofhamburgny.com and follow the link to “CodeRed Community Notification Enrollment” to sign up or call 648-5111, ext. 2500.