LEE -- The town hopes the state will fund the implementation of a system to alert Lee residents about emergencies.

Local public safety officials are working on a grant application to the Massachusetts 911 Department within the Executive office of Public Safety and Security. If approved, the money would cover the estimated nearly $5,000 cost to install a so-called reverse-911 program.

The system sends alerts via home phone, cell phone, email and text to homes, business and individuals within minutes.

Lee public safety officials initially reviewed proposals from five companies to install the system. It has been pared to two: Blackboard Connect and Code Red. Code Red was launched in Pittsfield and North Adams in September.

"We chose the two based on price and the level of service they offer," said Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis.

Blackboard Connect Inc. has proposed an installation price of $4,775, while Florida-based Code Red came in at $4,950, according to Town Administrator Robert Nason.

"The question is whether we're eligible for a 911 grant," he said. "Hopefully we'll know before we publish our final warrant for the annual town meeting in May."

Nason said town meeting approval would be needed to locally fund an alert system should state officials reject the grant application.

Homes and businesses in Lee with public telephone numbers will automatically be on the call list, town officials have said. Residents have the option of adding their cell phone numbers and email addresses to the database.

The messaging system can also be used to target specific areas of a community, town officials have said.

The municipal reverse-911 program would be separate from the one Lee Public Schools began using more than two years ago. School officials have said their emergency notification network has come in handy when alerting parents, teachers and students of a snow day and other unplanned or unexpected school-related issues.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.
On Twitter: @BE_DLindsay