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Case Study:  Borough of Avalon, New Jersey

Winter 2004
The Borough purchases an ALERT AM Emergency Advisory Radio System and Flashing ALERT Signs with a FEMA grant.
See the story in the words of EMS Chief Kevin Scarpa and more.
"The Borough of Avalon accepted a check from FEMA through the NJSP [New Jersey State Police] for the Avalon Emergency Advisory Radio Station. This project started 7/2002 and completed 4/2004, with a cost of $21,800. Eighteen thousand dollars of that $21,800 was reimbursed by an 'emergency management performance grant' from FEMA.

"The station transmits on a frequency of 1630 AM. There is a standard 24-hour information loop with information about local weather, public safety and events. The station automatically switches to NOAA when SAME [Specific Area Message Encoding] alert tones are received for thunderstorm warnings, flood warnings, hurricane warnings, Amber Alerts, and the National Emergency Alert System. In a state of emergency we [Avalon] will have the capability to go to 'live' broadcasts for local-evacuation-route or shelter-in-place instructions, the status of utilities infrastructure or recovery efforts.

"In the event of an extended power outage, the system has a 4-day battery backup. It transmits from the roof of the Avalon Fire Department and has an optimal range of 5 miles but in some places is audible for 10-15 miles."

Kevin C. Scarpa, MS, EMT-P, Chief of EMS
Borough of Avalon, 3100 Dune Drive, Avalon, NJ 08202-1706
Avalon's Website

In December, the Borough of Avalon installed the first of several Flashing Alert Sign Systems. The signs are designed to alert motorists to urgent public safety messages on the Borough's Emergency Advisory Radio Station 1630-AM. The signs are permanently visible to notify motorists of the station's frequency but can be actuated to flash, alerting that an urgent or emergency message is being broadcast.

Completely self-contained, the signs are solar powered and activated by a radio signal. On battery power they can flash for up to 14 days if needed. The signs were purchased by the Borough as part of a grant-matching purchase and were installed by members of the Public Works staff. Additional signs will be installed around the Borough in the next few weeks and might occasionally be tested for operational performance. The first sign was installed at 71st and Dune Drive. Pending County approval, additional signs will be installed on Ocean Drive at 30th and 71st Streets.
Above, Sgt. Tom Scardino (left) of the NJSP-OEM presents a Grant for $18,000 to Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi and emergency management coordinator Harry deButts. The Grant was used to fund their ALERT AM Emergency Advisory AM Radio Station.
Avalon deployed some of its Flashing ALERT Signs in creative ways . . . including in a triangular frame that allows the signs to be viewed from three directions. Above, is a tri-sign being packaged in Information Station Specialists' shop.
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