Compiled by AFD Capt. Rick Murray and Dennis Evanosky
The city of Alameda has adopted the Nixle 360 messaging service as its new communication service to send emergency alerts to Alameda residents.
The Nixle service will allow Alameda police and fire departments to send voice messages to a resident or business’ landline phone and text and voice messages to a resident’s mobile device. The city has been using Nixle to send community announcement alerts for some time, but now the service will handle Alameda’s emergency alert messages.
The city was using Code Red communication networks for its emergency alert notifications, but the contract expired on June 24, and the city decided not to renew it.
“It didn’t make sense to have two different vendors,” said Alameda police Lt. Lance Leibnitz. “We just consolidated to one vendor.”
Leibnitz said another factor for the change was that Nixle enhanced its messaging capabilities, making its messaging service more expansive.
Leibnitz notes that the Nixle 360 is not drastically different from the Code Red service, but allows police and fire departments to send messages to a select number of residents who are impacted by an emergency.
“Let’s say for example there is a search for a suspect going on in a certain neighborhood,” said Leibnitz. “With the Nixle service we have the capability to determine how wide an area we want to send a ‘shelter in place’ alert message to and it would be sent to just those in the area it would affect.”
Leibnitz said the overall messages would look the same, but the police and fire departments now will be able to decide the severity and urgency of each message. The city of Alameda finalized the agreement to use Nixle 360 for its expanded message alert service back in March.
The agreement will expire in February 2015.
Police and fire departments are asking Alameda residents to sign up for Nixle alerts by visiting www.nixle.com.