Westfield residents can now receive free alerts via text message, email or phone call courtesy of Nixle.
The 24-hour, seven-day-a-week information service issues emergency alerts, important advisories, community updates and traffic information specific to Westfield.
According to its website, Nixle, organized in January of 2007, seeks to "enable government agencies, small to medium size businesses and enterprise-level organizations to communicate in a secure way and exchange multimedia content over a trusted mobile platform."
The following message, issued Friday, Jan. 4, is an example, of a standard alert users receive:
"Chief David Wayman has an important message for the residents of Westfield!
The Westfield Police Department's Parking Services Division will be open on both Saturday, 01/19/2013, and Saturday, 01/26/2013, from 9 AM to 1 PM for those residents who are unavailable during the week to renew their parking permits."
The service is just one of the ways the Town of Westfield is putting technology to use to keep residents informed. During Wednesday evening's Mayor Andy Skibitsky said a focus for 2013 will be to improve the Town's website to make it more user-friendly. He also reminded residents to follow the Town's Twitter feed for updates, something that proved extremely useful in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
Not only will these upgrades improve communication, they can also simplify routine tasks. Skibitsky said residents can now pay their property taxes online and commuters who park in numbered spots on the southside of the train station are testing out a pilot program in which they can pay be app on their handheld devices. If successful, the program will be implemented in other municipal parking areas as well.