By Josh Davis Associate Editor
(July 19, 2018) Town of Berlin officials continue to tweak communications with the public, especially those stemming from the CodeRED emergency notification system.
Put into effect in 2014, CodeRED sends texts or emails and delivers phone messages during emergencies. On July 6, for example, an alert went out saying power was out townwide.
“Crews have been dispatched and are working to restore power,” a text alert said.
Town Administrator Laura Allen said some residents complained the service was being overused.
“We’ve gotten a little buzz about CodeRED’s being used too much and people aren’t really paying attention to it,” she said.
The purpose of the service, as with “The Berlin Bulletin” newsletter, was to better communications with the public, Allen said.
Recently, she said the town used the online marketing service Constant Contact to keep residents aware of street closures and other disruptions during roadwork and utility work on Gay Street.
“We’re trying to do more direct communication with the folks in the immediate area around our capital projects,” Allen said. “We’re having some moderate [success]. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 percent successful.
“I’m getting some feedback from folks that think it’s not quite hitting the mark,” she added.
One such communication was sent about multiple paving projects occurring simultaneously on William Street, Cedar Avenue and Maple Avenue, Allen said.
“We sent that CodeRED out and I did get some feedback from some people who felt like it was a little bit too little too late, because the area around Cedar and Maple had been under construction for a while,” she said. “We will do a more broad CodeRED and more broad outreach for the streets that are used more frequently, and that have higher traffic on them.”
For smaller projects like the one on Gay Street, Allen said, alerts might be scaled down to only those immediately affected.
“We do make some decisions around how we use that, so you see how the feedback comes back,” she said. “We’re just trying to be thoughtful about the wider community of folks that come into Berlin.
“The intention here is to keep people informed, but not drive them crazy with constant reminders,” Allen added.
To sign up for CodeRED, visit www.berlinmd.gov/department/emergency-notification-2.
To sign up for town news and announcements, or to provide feedback on town communications, visit www.berlinmd.gov/contact-the-town.