Our View

Reverse 911 makes sense

A proposal to implement a "reverse 911" system in Old Bridge is something that other municipal governing bodies may want to consider pursuing for their own communities.

The idea of having an emergency notification system in this post-9/11 world makes sense for any municipality, especially those that are in close proximity to New York City, which has unfortunately become a target for terrorism.

The system would provide assistance during potential emergency situations that existed even before the term "bioterrorism" became a household word. It can alert residents about missing persons, about a major crime, or give instructions regarding evacuation routes in the event of a flood or other disaster.

In fact, in cases where the police would field questions by residents — such as the recent Staten Island barge explosion, which many initially feared was no accident -— the system can be useful for dispersing information townwide, and allaying fears.

It’s a program that has been discussed by various levels of government for years, but its usefulness is now more apparent than ever.

Reverse 911 is a relatively inexpensive endeavor — Old Bridge estimates spending $68,000 in start-up costs and $10,000 a year thereafter — and would be maintained and operated by the police.

With the safety of residents in mind, we would encourage municipal officials to consider following in Old Bridge’s path and approving a system like the one it is expected to implement in the coming weeks.