Sparta rolls out Emergency Communication System

Residents can opt-in to program

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BY JOE WESTON
– The Sparta Town Council announced at their May 27 meeting that the Honeywell Instant Alert Plus Community Notification System has been launched and that registration began May 17 during Sparta Day.

“The primary focus of this system is emergencies, road closures, and things of that nature. Weather events that dictate certain actions by the community,” said Township Manager William Close.

The system has a non-emergency component as well such as the summer concert series and movies in the park, Close said.

The system is completely customizable and the resident can pick and choose to receive notifications from categories including road closures, field and facility closures, general township messages, township events, senior citizen programs and events, parks and recreation programs and events, lake associations, library programs and events, utility notifications and alerts, and volunteer opportunities.

“It is an opt-in system,” said Council Member Christine Quinn.

A resident has to register to receive communications, and it is separate from the Honeywell system used by the Sparta Township Public School District, Quinn said.

“If you have a child that goes to school in Sparta and you are in the Honeywell system, you will not be on file with the township system. We cannot merge the data by law,” said Quinn.

The resident can also decide how they wish to be contacted and may list multiple telephone, fax and pager numbers, along with multiple e-mail addresses, according to Quinn.

“This is what is great about the system. If you are not at your desk or by your home phone, you can still get notified,” said Quinn.

Sparta residents can register at www.spartanj.org.

“There were about 150 people that signed up on Sparta Day,” said Close. “A lot of people used the form made available and we entered the data in the system for those residents.”

Residents can register at town hall, where they can receive assistance from the municipal staff, Close said.

“There is going to be a substantial and sustainable marketing campaign that is behind this,” said Quinn.

Notices will be going into bills, and the current e-mail distribution system through the library and the schools.

One person in a household can sign up everyone living there using one user ID, according to Quinn.

“There are about 6,000 households in Sparta. My goal, in a perfect world, is to get at least one person in each household signed up,” Quinn said.

Someone needing to know information involving Sparta doesn’t have to necessarily live in Sparta.

“Many business owners, for example, live outside of Sparta but can use the system,” Quinn said.

A resident that wants to invite their relatives to a summer concert in Sparta can also use the system to notify them of the event.

“If you come in and sign up without choosing from the menu, you automatically receive at least the emergency notifications,” said Quinn. “People can go into the system at any time and change whatever they have listed. You can de-select notifications if you want.”

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