RapidCast system keeps town informed

Published 10:41 am Monday, July 14, 2008

One community of families now has the technological version of the Neighborhood Watch program.

The town of Mt Laurel recently debuted the RapidCast system, in which participants receive important information by home telephone, e-mails and text messages.

Auburn University uses a similar system, said Jim Summers, Neighborhood Watch committee chairman for Mt Laurel.

“RapidCast has a database with all the residents’ names in Mt Laurel and their information, and if there’s an emergency or an event that affects all the residents, they can be notified in a few minutes,” he said.

Mt Laurel is the first Neighborhood Watch group in Birmingham to use the system, Summers said.

The system is necessary because there’s a need for simultaneous information to go out, he said.

“With the terrorist attacks and similar situations, there’s a need to notify everybody in time so they have time to prepare for the incident,” he said. “It also notifies the schools.”

The system also notifies Mt Laurel businesses in the event of a theft from another business.

RapidCast is providing the service at no cost, Summers said.

The town has already tested the system, using it in a few different situations.

Residents have been very positive about the system, he said.

“It’s a way of disseminating information and letting people know what’s going on,” he said. “This way everybody knows about it at the same time.”