The Examiner

New Castle to Employ Robo Call System in Future Emergencies

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Power outages and road closures, like this situation on Hog Hill Road, will be relayed to New Castle residents in the future.

The Town of New Castle is planning to set up a robo call system to update residents on power outages, road closures and other emergencies as a way to improve communication following Hurricane Sandy.

Town Administrator Penny Paderewski announced  the  that officials are working to set up a system that would contact residents with an assortment of important information. Paderewski said at Tuesday night’s town board meeting the system could be in place by early next year.

“Everybody is looking and wants to help the residents get what they need, to communicate information that needs to be communicated,” Paderewski said.

The announcement came a week after the board held a meeting with residents to review how the town can improve communications in times of crisis. Short- and long-term strategies were discussed, including employing the robo call system. The Chappaqua School District uses the taped calls, which worked effectively to help families with schoolchildren gain up-to-date information during the hurricane’s aftermath.

Along with notifying residents of power outages, the messages could relay other information such as water main breaks or road closures and localize the calls to residents in a particular area of town, Paderewski said.

In addition to the robo call, the town is exploring the possibility of having a digitized street map to help officials and Con Edison and out-of-state crews work more effectively. Communication between the town’s Con Edison liaison and road crews was also poor.

“We really are actively trying to address some of the issues that were brought up,” Paderewski said.

Last week’s discussion occurred during the same two-day period that saw a meeting organized by County Executive Rob Astorino with municipal officials and Con Edison representatives and a public meeting in Greenburgh, which Supervisor Susan Carpenter attended. Officials and residents at those forums were also critical of the substandard communication and utility crew deployment issues that surfaced throughout the county.

New Castle was one of the hardest hit municipalities in Westchester, with about 90 percent of the town losing power, in some cases for up to two weeks.




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