Following concerns that Point Pleasant Borough failed to adequately warn its residents of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival on the Jersey Shore, the Borough Council is considering pursuing a Reverse 911 call system to be used in cases of future emergencies.
Now, council is wondering where to begin.
At its meeting Tuesday night at Borough Hall, council members tabled an authorization for a Reverse 911 system, saying they needed more time to consider the technology and sift through the numerous companies that offer it.
Despite putting the measure on hold for the foreseeable future, Councilman Chris Leitner said he believes Point Borough will have a system in place early next year.
“It’s a much more complicated market place then we anticipated,” he said following the meeting. “It’s certainly something we’d like to pursue, but there’s got to be three more votes.”
The search for a Reverse 911 system comes on the heels of Sandy, which prompted the town to order mandatory evacuations for some parts of the Borough.
Sunshine Harbor, along with Bay Head Shores, is among the low-lying areas east of Beaver Dam Road that suffered heavy flooding. Sunshine Harbor had no power for two weeks.
Overall, Leitner said he feels the Borough and its Office of Emergency Management did a respectable job of keeping the town’s residents updated. He did note the need for improvement, however.
“There were complaints, but saying it was a lot of complaints would be overstating it,” he said. “I do think it’s incumbent on the council to notify the public of emergencies when they arise.”
Leitner was joined by Council members Toni DePaola and Bob Sabosik in support of a Reverse 911 system, which could call residents, and in some cases send texts or emails, during emergencies.
A quasi-opponent of the idea is Mayor William Schroeder who said Sandy, as well as the evacuations ordered by the Borough, was no surprise to residents.
As it pursues a Reverse 911 system, Leitner said the Borough will look at a number of companies that offer it, compare costs and services, and move on from there. How much implementing an emergency call system could cost remains to be seen as each Reverse 911 system is town-specific.
In the interim, Leitner asked residents to sign up for a service called Nixle that provides emergency notifications. Leitner told the audience to search “Nixle” and “Point Pleasant” to find and then sign up for the service.
He said, should the Borough get its own reverse 911 service, the process would be much simpler.