January 4, 2013 at 7:59 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ—The Westfield Police Department began using Nixle today to broadcast alerts—such as emergency messages and other important information—via text messaging and email. The service is free and anyone can sign up by texting 07090 to 888777 or by visiting Nixle.com.
Nixle uses a proprietary platform that allows participating police, fire and emergency agencies to send secure and authenticated real-time alerts. More than 6,000 agencies nationwide have signed up for Nixle, according to the service. Unlike other social media sites, each agency's account is verified and only urgent bulletins appear on subscribers’ phones
“We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance and improve communication with the public,” said Westfield Police Chief David Wayman.
“We can put messages out on Nixle such as emergency messages, road closures, power outages and gas leaks,” said Wayman. “We learned through Sandy that communication through the police department with the public is vital.”
The Nixle alerts will also be available via the town’s Twitter account, @TownOfWestfield, which was heavily used by Westfield residents and business owners when Superstorm Sandy cut off power and communication in the town. But, unlike Twitter, Nixle automatically sends these alerts to the user’s phone and/or email address.
“We strongly suggest everyone sign up for Nixle,” said Wayman.