NYC to Expand Emergency Notification System

Weekend terror drill at World Trade Center site called successful.

ByABC News
May 15, 2009, 5:18 PM

May 18, 2009— -- After what New York City authorities are calling a successful terror drill over the weekend at the World Trade Center site, the city is moving to expand a "Notify NYC" system that alerts residents and businesses by e-mail, text message and telephone to emergencies either city wide or in a targeted area or borough.

Often called "reverse 911" the system has been used or tested successfully in a number of other cities across the country as a way to move residents to safety in the face of natural calamities -- hurricanes, flooding or dam collapse and is also intended to work in terror or other "man made" emergencies, officials say.

In New York it has been successfully used, city officials say, in a pilot program across four neighborhoods. It was launched following the former Deustche Bank fire right off the site of Ground Zero. In that case residents did not know what was the source of smoke, or whether they needed to take shelter or evacuate.

City officials say the system has proved effective in the terror drill, a recent lower Manhattan building collapse and in the case of the recent planned but aborted second military flyover of the city. Any resident or business can sign up for the program at: nyc.gov/notifynyc.

On Sunday, the World Trade Center site was swarming with sirens and hundreds of police officers and firefighters for a drill funded by the Department of Homeland Security to test the emergency response to a bomb explosion , and consequent on-site incident management, search and rescue, mass casualty medical support, intelligence and investigation, and communications.

City officials said the full-scale exercise was a success.

"Today's exercise was particularly important because it demonstrated the commitment our emergency personnel are making to training and to cooperation among both City agencies and other parts of government, " NYC Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler in a statement Sunday.

NYC Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the exercise helped emergency responders "prepare for every possible situation."

City officials said the full-scale exercise was a success.

\"Today's exercise was particularly important because it demonstrated the commitment our emergency personnel are making to training and to cooperation among both City agencies and other parts of government, \" NYC Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler in a statement Sunday.

NYC Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the exercise helped emergency responders \"prepare for every possible situation.\"

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