Hyattsville swaps emergency alert services

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Hyattsville will phase out its Nixle emergency alert system over the next several months in favor of a new emergency alert messaging company named CodeRED.

Hyattsville has been using Nixle to distribute emergency alerts for more than seven years, according to message records. However, it lacked the ability to reach landlines or residents without cell phones or email access, Hyattsville City Police Department Chief of Police Amal Awad said during a recent community meeting.

The new service will allow police to distribute emergency notifications and public safety alerts by text message, robocall and email. It also has teletype option for deaf subscribers. Awad also noted the CodeRED service allows for alerts to be distributed at a neighborhood-specific level.

Residents can subscribe to the city’s CodeRED service by texting HVL to 99411 or by visiting Hyattsville.org/safetyalerts.

For the time being, as the city transitions between the two services, city officials plan to distribute alerts through both systems.

CodeRED is a brand of Onsolve LLC, a Florida-based emergency alert messaging company. 

Hurricane season has drawn attention to the CodeRED service, as cities in the path of Dorian have begun to issue alerts on the system. While the service has been lauded by officials in the path of the storm, in at least one instance, operator error resulted in the distribution of a false alarm.

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