A new, more robust community notification system is being rolled out to Hamilton residents and businesses this week.
Police Chief Russell Stevens told the Board of Selectmen this week that the town has licensed the CodeRED Community Notification System to help disseminate important or critical information to residents and businesses in town.
The system uses phone calls, emails, text messages and social media to get out information about everything ranging from evacuations, flood and fires to planned road closures or water main repairs. When signing up, residents have the option or getting only emergency alerts or also getting more general alerts and announcements. Residents can add as many phone numbers, text numbers and emails addresses as they want.
“We encourage all residents and businesses to go to the town website, click on the CodeRED logo to enter your contact information – including additional phone numbers, text numbers and email addresses – to ensure all of the data in our system is accurate and current,” Stevens said.
The CodeRED login page can also be reached directly and there is also a mobile app for Apple and Android smartphones – go to the App Store or Google Play and search for CodeRED.
There is no cost to residents to use the service and all of the information will be kept private.
For anyone that uses call blocking, they will want to add two numbers to the allowed number list – 866-419-500 for emergency calls and 855-969-4636 for general alerts.
If you do not have Internet access, contact a friend or family member to help add your contact information to the CodeRED database, Stevens said. If needed, residents can also call the Hamilton Emergency Communications Center at 978-468-1212 for assistance.
Police Chief Russell Stevens will serve as Interim Town Manager while Town Manager Michael Lombardo is out on leave.
Lombardo is out on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, said Scott Maddern, chairman of the Hamilton Board of Selectmen.
Lombardo could be out up to 6-8 weeks, but he could be back before then. When he returns, Maddern said he expects Lombardo “won’t miss a beat when he returns.” There will be no interruption in town services during Lombardo’s leave, Stevens said.
Previously, Stevens has served as interim town manager during Lombardo’s vacations. In the coming weeks, both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance and Advisory Committee will be preparing for the Annual Town Meeting on April 1. Both boards have full confidence in Stevens and have been impressed as he’s helped develop the fiscal year 2018 budget, Maddern said.
The Police Department is in the capable hands of Lt. Scott Janes, according to Maddern and Stevens. The department has been well trained and prepared under Stevens’ “steady hand,” including state accreditation and reaccreditation, Maddern said.
Parents and children are both reminded about “stranger danger” this summer, according to Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens.
A stranger is anyone a child doesn’t know and can be a man, woman or a teenager. If a child has never met the person in real life, they are a stranger.
Stevens encourages Hamilton parents to speak to their children about “stranger danger” while reviewing the list of safety tips.
Here are some tips for children to stay safe with strangers.
Memorize and know your name, address, phone number and parent’s cell phone number.
Use the buddy system and don’t walk anywhere alone and instead walk with a friend or sibling.
Trust your instincts – if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, get help immediately or go someplace safe.
Always tell your parents where you are going and call them when you get there.
Do not get close to strangers.
Don’t ever tell your name, address or school name to a stranger.
Never take candy, money or gifts from a stranger.
Never go with a stranger to help look for a lost pet or play a game.
Never get into a car with anyone you don’t know without your parents’ approval.
If a stranger follows you or grabs you, yell real loud. Shout, “I don’t know you,” so people know you are in trouble. Fight back and make as much noise as you can. If they threaten to hurt you, keep yelling.
Know safe places you can go, such as a police or fire station, library, a store with people around or a friend’s house.
If someone is following you try to remember the license plate of the vehicle and immediately tell a trusted adult or the police.
If anyone touches you in a bad way, say “no” as loudly as you can and run away then tell an adult right away.
Trust your feelings because if something feels funny or wrong, you can say no and then tell someone you trust what happened.
Tell your parents about places or people that make you feel uncomfortable.
Know how and when to call 9-1-1.
At home, never tell anyone on the phone you are alone and do not tell callers your name, phone number, address or school name. If you don’t like what someone is saying on the phone, hang up right away.
Never put your name on the outside of your coat, lunch box or bag since someone could trick you into thinking they know you by using your name.
The ice is out on Chebacco Lake and the boat ramp is open – prompting a safety reminder from the Hamilton Police Department.
Chief Russell Stevens said that he has already seen an increase in boat traffic on the lake during weekends this spring and he expects it to get busier as the weather gets warmer.
“I would like to remind boaters to utilize safe practices while operating their watercrafts and follow the rules of the lake,” Stevens said. “It is also important that boat operators are mindful of their wakes as well as how close they are operating to the shoreline.”
Some other safety tips:
Personal watercraft (jetskis) are banned on Chebacco Lake.
The suggested traffic pattern around the lake is counterclockwise to reduce the possibility of a collision.
Follow state boating laws, which require a waterskiing spotter 12-year-old or older and requires boaters age 13 and under to wear a PFD. The complete Massachusetts boating laws are available on the state website.
The Chebacco Lake boat ramp is off Chebacco Lake in Hamilton, just past the former town beach near the town line with Manchester-by-the-Sea. In addition to a ramp, there is parking for 17 vehicles with trailers. It is managed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The lake is half in Hamilton and half in Essex. The lake is 209-acres in size and varies in depth from 9-22 feet. It is popular for boating, swimming, waterskiing and fishing.
In case of an emergency, always call 911. To reach the Hamilton harbormaster, call 978-468-4421. In Essex, to reach the harbormaster call 978-768-6628.