The Vermont Department of Corrections announced last week that it is making improvements to its notification system to rapidly communicate emergency messages to citizens.
The Department purchased a system called TFCC Alert (Twenty First Century Communications) which enables it to send time-sensitive, targeted messages to select groups and geographic areas.
This system is capable of reaching landlines, cellular and VoIP phones, BlackBerrys/PDAs, pagers and TTY/TTD devices for the hearing impaired. It also sends messages via SMS/text messaging, fax and email and can post messages to Facebook and Twitter.
Currently, to be added to a contact database, interested parties must send a letter or an email to the correctional facility of interest and request to be added to its notification system. The Vermont Department of Corrections is working with TFCC to develop a website interface where members of the public can register by going to a simple website. In addition, this website will allow users to update their information as telephone numbers or contact information changes. Users can discontinue participation at any time.
The primary use of the system will be to disseminate messages pertaining to the correctional facility and surrounding community when affected by a perceived, emerging or imminent emergency event. Once registered, members of the community will receive periodic notices from the system when the facility conducts different emergency drills or tests the system.