City of Newcastle Oklahoma

Emergency Outreach and Communication

Press Release / FAQ

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Press Release / FAQ

Connect-CTY

Newcastle Adopts Connect-CTY Communication Service to Enhance Emergency Outreach and Communication

Test Call Planned to Ensure Residents are Ready to Receive Important Messages

(NEWCASTLE, OK – October 22, 2007) The City of Newcastle announced today it has selected the mass communication service Connect-CTY® from The NTI Group, Inc. (NTI) and will conduct its first city-wide test call on October 26. Newcastle is the first city in Oklahoma to adopt Connect-CTY and has implemented the service to provide city officials the ability to communicate with all residents regarding time-sensitive matters, such as unforeseen events or emergencies.

The Connect-CTY service allows emergency officials to send and track personalized voice messages to thousands of residents, businesses, and local officials in just minutes, through a single phone call. The service requires no additional hardware; it can be used from any computer with Internet access or telephone, ensuring that emergency officials can send vital messages from wherever they are located. The city also can track which numbers were reached with a report on the results of outgoing messages.

“With the advanced communication capabilities offered through Connect-CTY, it was clear that implementing the service would provide us with the most efficient way to get the word out,” said City Manager, Nick Nazar. “Connect-CTY will allow us to easily notify citizens in emergency situations, such as a severe weather conditions, road closures, missing persons, etc.”

City administrators can target messages to an unlimited number of groups – everything from mobilizing emergency response teams to notifying necessary department heads. Authorized users also can use a map on the Connect-CTY system to contact specific geographical locations, sending messages only to select communities.

“Sending accurate and current information will enhance our emergency planning and response efforts,” Nazar said. “All residents should register their cell phones, private lines and e-mail addresses into the Connect-CTY database to ensure that they are always ready to receive timely messages.”

Primary residential and business phones in Newcastle will automatically be included in the system. However, residents have the option of providing additional contact information including their e-mail address, cell phone and private (non-published) phone numbers included for emergency notifications by visiting the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce Web site (www.newcastleok.org) and clicking on the link that says “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY CONNECT-CTY” to enter additional information into the secure database. Those without Internet access can have their information added into the system by calling (405)387-2922.

With the Connect-CTY service, administrators will have a powerful tool for mass communication without having to purchase new computers, software and telephone lines.

The City of Newcastle will be conducting its first test call on October 26, in order to ensure all residents who would like to be included in the system are given a chance to correct their phone numbers. If residents do not receive the call, they should visit the Chamber’s Web site at www.newcastleok.org and click on the “SIGN UP NOW – SERVICES BY CONNECT-CTY” link to enter their updated contact information into the Connect-CTY database.

Residents without Internet access can have their information added into the database by calling (405)387-2922

For more information on the Connect-CTY system, please go to http://www.ntigroup.com

* NTI does not sell, lease, share, or rent personally identifiable information (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) to any companies or persons outside of NTI or NTI service providers.

About The NTI Group

The NTI Group, Inc. (NTI), a Delaware corporation, is a privately held company that provides award winning communication systems designed specifically for local, regional, state, and Federal government entities. The Connect family of services enables rapid dissemination of critical information via voice and text devices using its premier mass notification engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily record and send time-based notifications to thousands of people in minutes using just a telephone. NTI makes and distributes the Connect-ED®, Connect-CTY®,
Connect-GOV®, and Connect-MIL® systems, allowing users to target specific groups and/or geographic regions within their database(s) and engage recipients in two-way communication by asking them to respond to questions via their telephone keypads.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Connect-CTY service?
The Connect-CTY service allows authorized civic leaders to create and rapidly disseminate time-sensitive messages to every telephone number stored in the notification database. With the Connect-CTY service, authorized users can send thousands of messages in minutes. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system.

How does the service work?
Authorized officials record a voice message that is then delivered quickly to individual phones in the notification database.   

What types of messages will be sent using the service?
Any message regarding the safety or welfare of our community would be disseminated using the Connect-CTY service.
Examples would include severe weather warnings and updates, hazardous traffic or road conditions inside the city or affecting local routes, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.

Does the Connect-CTY service replace other systems that have been used to provide time-sensitive information to residents?
This system is a significant enhancement to existing means of communication and is supplemental to, not a replacement for, the systems we have used in the past.
The call-in emergency information line (405)387-5514, which is activated during an emergency situation, will still be available. Also, TV, radio and our city web site will continue to broadcast important announcements.

Is my telephone number included in the notification database?
It is our intention and hope that every residence and commercial facility in our community be included in the notification database. For businesses, we only store one main phone number. For residents, we may have more than one number that belongs to you in the database. Additionally, you may request to have a secondary number be entered into our database for priority calling.

May I use a cell phone as my notification database listing?
Yes, we can accept cell phones as secondary phone numbers in the database and encourage you to request that your number be included.

What precautions are being taken to protect personal information?
Connect-CTY is a service of The NTI Group, Inc. (NTI). NTI takes security and privacy concerns very seriously and does not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about our clients to any third party. From a technical perspective, we utilize multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security. NTI only utilizes secure transmissions with its customers. No confidential information is ever transmitted between NTI and its customers using e-mail or FTP, but rather always utilizes either a VPN tunnel or SSL. Data is hosted in state-of-the-art facilities which require photo identification, thumb-print recognition, keyed access, and are manned 24/7 with full-security personnel. All data is encrypted prior to being placed on tape for offsite storage. NTI also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits. 

Will there be a way to positively identify incoming calls which are made by the town using the system?
The caller-ID number for calls generated by the Connect-CTY service will be the same as the City Office number:  (405)387-5514. In addition, every message will begin with the same standard announcement: “Hello, this is ______ calling with an important message from the City of Newcastle”. The message content will follow this standard introduction.

Will the Connect-CTY service work if I have a call screening system on my phone?
There are several varieties of call screening devices which use differing protocols for screening. In general, the system has been found to work with these devices; but, some may require some type of pre-programming to allow our city’s telephone number to pass through. We may conduct periodic test to assure that messages are being delivered to numbers in the notification database.

If I am a non-resident home or condominium owner, what phone should be listed in the notification database?For non-residents or owners who reside out of our city, you may provide an additional phone number to be included in our database to contact during certain situations. In general, calls are sent to the primary number only, but we also have the ability to call multiple numbers for each resident or business when requested by the resident or business. Please contact our city hall office at (405)387-5514 to provide us with that information.

If I have provided more than one phone number, when will they be called?
Should a situation arise that requires us to contact you at multiple phone numbers, we can activate the system to place a simultaneous call to all of your numbers. In most cases, we will be sending calls only to one phone number.

My primary phone or my second listing is a cell phone with a non-local area code.  Will the Connect-CTY service call numbers outside the area?
Yes.  The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made.

How does the Connect-CTY system respond to busy signals or no-answer situations?
For busy signals, the call will be repeated several times in an attempt to reach you. The same is true for No-answer and Call-waiting. If the phone is answered by a message recorder, the message will be left on the answering device. If, after several attempts the call does not successfully go through, the system will stop attempting to call. 

I am receiving town notification calls at my fax or my secondary phone line.  Can I switch to have the system call my primary phone number?
Yes. Please contact us at (405)387-5514 to change the phone number in our notification database.

I was not able to listen to the entire call.  Is there a way to repeat the message?
Yes, at the end of the message playback, simply press the star (*) key on your telephone to have it repeated in its entirety.

I answer the phone but the “Hello” message repeats. It then hangs up, calls back, and the same thing happens again.   How can I hear the entire message?
Repeating or looping of messages happens when the system detects excessive noise in the background. This can be caused by loud radio/television volumes, people talking, or busy traffic noise. When you receive the next call, say “hello” once and turn down the volume of your radio/television or press the mute button on your telephone to allow full message delivery.

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