A change in vendors for the Cuyahoga County Ready Notify system, used by the city of Solon to communicate emergencies to residents, requires users to update their information, Fire Chief William J. Shaw advised last week.
Chief Shaw said that the mass communication notification system that is offered by Cuyahoga County to suburban communities for their use has switched to the Code Red vendor, and users are asked to update their information.
They can do so by visiting the Cuyahoga County Ready Notify website or there is a link on the City of Solon’s website at solonohio.org.
“We have always encouraged Solon residents to sign up for Ready Notify,” Chief Shaw said. “Because of this change, while they are able to transfer information from the old system to the new system, the county is recommending users re-register under the Code Red system to have updated telephone numbers.
The chief continued that residents are able to choose which method they want to be notified, whether it is by phone, text or email, or all of them.
“It’s a little more flexible,” he said.
In Solon, Ready Notify is used for emergency notifications only, although some communities use it for non-emergency items as well.
“When we decided to go ahead with this project, the decision was to use it for emergencies only,” Chief Shaw said. Examples are longtime road closures or hazardous situations that are going on in the community.
“We don’t put out non-emergency messages regarding community events so people are not getting inundated with messages, emails and texts,” he said. “If you use a system for both, people have a tendency to start to ignore some of the messages. We certainly don’t want that to happen in an emergency.”
Thankfully, Solon does not use the system often, the chief noted.
“Solon is a very safe community,” Chief Shaw said. “We have not had much need in the past and only have used it a few times.
“It’s not a real frequent event,” he added.
Solon tests its Ready Notify the first Wednesday of every month, with users receiving a test message to remind them the system is still out there, Chief Shaw said.
He said that when residents re-register with the new vendor or register for the first time, they can indicate the ways in which they receive information. It can even be to multiple emails or phone numbers, the chief said.
“The system is pretty robust,” he said. Users can also indicate they want to know about emergencies in other Cuyahoga County communities besides Solon. For example, if their loved ones or friends live elsewhere, they may want to receive those notices, the chief said.
“It gives quite a bit of flexibly to the users,” Chief Shaw added.
As best practice, the chief said he recommends two methods of notification for a user.
He noted that Ready Notify is of no cost to the city or the users themselves.
“The goal of the program is to achieve situational awareness,” Chief Shaw explained. “For a lot of people, you get your head down and go about your day-to-day activities.” If something happens that may affect your safety or your family’s safety, the quicker you are aware of that event happening, the faster you can respond to it personally.
“That’s really what this system does for the individual,” he said. “It gives them the ability to make them aware of things going on around them that affect their life.”