Conn., Va. residents to get emergency alerts by phone

Cities, towns and counties in Connecticut and Virginia will be able to send recorded messages to thousands of people in the event of an emergency using Reverse 911 technology, according to contracts between the states and company announced this week.

In Connecticut, the Department of Information Technology awarded a contract that lets government entities purchase the notification system through state homeland security funding or standard budgetary funds, according to Reverse 911. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s contract, meanwhile, establishes pre-negotiated pricing for agencies seeking to purchase the product.

In addition, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management plans to deploy the Reverse 911 system as a statewide notification solution and to mobilize emergency response teams.

With the Connecticut and Virginia contracts, Reverse 911 is now the approved notification system provider in four states, a company spokeswoman said. The wins have all resulted from competitive bids, she added.

Reverse 911 uses database and geographic information systems (GIS) technology to target message recipients. The product may be used to notify residents in a given area of an emergency or to gather emergency management employees.

The Reverse 911 software is installed on hardware at the customer’s location. The 911 data and GIS maps reside on the dedicated hardware, the spokeswoman said. The company augments the customer’s on-site calling capability with an off-site service that increases the volume and speed of the outbound calls, she said.

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