City officials appear ready to begin using an outside contractor to oversee reverse 9-1-1 emergency calls in Shelton. The city has been using the state system at no cost, but like many other municipalities already have done, Shelton is likely to decide to hire its own vendor.
There will be a cost, but in today’s world where people expect instant communication — especially during emergencies — there really is no choice. The state system has mostly done an adequate job, but in a true statewide crisis it simply can get overwhelmed and not be up to the job of also handling municipal communication needs.
The blizzard of Feb. 8 and 9 was a situation in which many people in Shelton were left wondering what was going on with plowing roads — specifically, the street at the end of their driveway.
A limited number of people had legitimate concerns about getting to work over the weekend or medical-related needs, but almost everyone started to grow nervous as Monday morning came closer and their street still wasn’t plowed.
Monday was the day they were expected back at work, although in reality few businesses had a normal opening on Monday morning. Still, no matter whether people had a legitimate need to get somewhere or simply were overreacting, most everyone was left wondering what was going on with the roads.
It is reasonable to expect the city to have the ability to effectively communicate that kind of information to its residents on a timely basis. Even if the news isn’t good news, at least it’s news. Not knowing leads to speculation, unhappiness and worry.
An upgraded reverse 9-1-1 system should allow city officials to do a better job keeping residents informed during times of crisis, and will be well worth the cost. It would be a good use of taxpayers’ money.