VALHALLA, N.Y. — Shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit last fall, Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Joan Maybury said she wished the town could communicate better with its residents during storms.
This week, Maybury and the town took a major step in improving that communication by announcing an emergency notification service for residents.
"We want to be able to easily reach out to our residents in a time of crisis, such as the one during Hurricane Sandy," Maybury said. "This system will allow us to do so."
The system, offered through Rapid Notify, will allow the town to send text alerts to the cellphones of residents who sign up for the free service. During an event such as Hurricane Sandy, the system can update residents on flooded roads, downed trees and opened shelters, Maybury said.
The town will also be able to manage the alerts to keep them relevant to residents.
"We'll be able to use some geotagging on the alerts once a resident signs up," Maybury said. "So that way we can specify the alerts we send out to go to certain areas of the town."
The alert system can also be used in a police emergency. It will be a way to better reach the various areas of the department's jurisdiction, which expands to areas of Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff and Chappaqua, Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said.
The Mount Pleasant Town Board agreed to a contract with Rapid Notify at its meeting Tuesday. The town is completing some final steps to get the system running, Maybury said. Residents should be able to sign up through the town website in the next few weeks.