Chatfield implements new citizen alert system

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
CHATFIELD NEWS

Residents of Chatfield will now have the opportunity to be more informed about what is going on in the community. A citizen alert system has been activated to keep citizens updated on weather and emergency notifications. The system is being conducted by the city of Chatfield and the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department.

By signing up with this system, residents can be notified of situations like snowplowing, water breaks and street closings. When enrolled in this system, the residents can choose how they want to be notified.

“The city is especially pleased to be able to provide this service as a way to work with those who routinely park on the streets to receive notifications that vehicles need to be removed from the street for snow plowing,” reads a statement on the city website.

The new citizen alert system was put into effect on Nov. 13 to get news out to residents quickly – faster than if they were to await radio or television notifications – through alerts sent to cell phones, to email accounts or by landline phone calls.

City Clerk Joel Young thanked city office employee Rocky Burnett for taking the initiative to implement the program in Chatfield.

He stated, “We first learned about this service last spring, while working with the Stewartville city administrator regarding similar topics. This will provide a very direct means of communicating urgent information directly to residents. It will help with snowplowing, water main breaks, hydrant flushing, sewer jetting, public safety alerts and so forth.”

Young believes this will improve communication with residents in a variety of different ways, but in the near term, the city hopes residents will be more aware of when snowplows are operating.

“In order to clear the streets efficiently and thoroughly, all vehicles need to be off the streets when the plows are out,” Young explained. “This service will inform people that plows will be on the streets, which should make for more efficient snowplowing and will also reduce the number of parking tickets that need to be issued.”

Young stressed the service is not automatic and registration will be necessary for those who want to participate.

“Each individual will need to register, at which time they will state how they want to be contacted,” he reiterated. “The choices will be by text message, by email or by a call to their landline. People can register for the system through the city of Chatfield website by clicking the citizen alert system icon and following the enrollment steps – go to www.ci.chatfield.mn.us and look for the ‘citizen alert’ icon.”

For those who don’t consider themselves to be tech-savvy, the monthly newsletter the city provides has step-by-step instructions, or they can call Burnett at city hall at 507-867-3810. Once registered, alerts will automatically be sent their way whenever an alert is issued by the city.

Young was pleased to relate that the system has already been tested and put into action.

“The city recognizes that people are very busy and each person has its own preferred method of getting information – that people do want to be informed, and the city is making every effort to be as responsive as possible,” he said. “This is more instantaneous than any other form of communication. Being able to send a brief note directly to interested residents is powerful.”

And best yet, the whole system costs the city nothing. “There is no cost to the user and no cost to the city because this is a service provided by the Olmsted County Office of Emergency Management,” Young concluded.