Saving time and saving lives in northern Minnesota

New emergency alert system helps keep residents safe in the small community of Cromwell

Sharon Zelazny has only lived in Cromwell for about eight years, but she says the small northern Minnesota community feels like home.

“Our community is more like a family. Everybody knows everybody,” says Zelazny, a second-term mayor of Cromwell.

The town looks after its own, and that capability recently strengthened when Cromwell replaced an outdated emergency alert system to provide more notice to residents in case of an emergency.

“I’ve always felt that although we’re a small town, we still deserve to be able to take care of our citizens and provide high-quality services,” says Zelazny.

The city’s old alert system had to be manually activated at the fire department where it was located. Like many smaller communities, Cromwell relies on a volunteer fire department that’s not staffed 24 hours a day—and that meant sending a volunteer to the fire station to activate the siren.

The new alert system will connect to the National Weather Service and automatically alert the community, through Carlton County Dispatch, when an emergency occurs.

“This doesn’t just impact our city—our school district encompasses children from neighboring communities, and many people from out of town come to our community center to attend the many events that take place. The alarm doesn’t just serve this small town,” says Zelazny.

Line 3 Replacement Project (U.S.)
The L3RP, with a US$4-billion American component, will help ensure that Minnesota and the surrounding region are connected to secure, reliable and growing supplies of North American crude.

Tornadoes, storms and other weather-related emergencies are the most common events that will trigger the emergency alert system and provide earlier notification to community residents.

After installing the new emergency alert system, the City of Cromwell hosted a dedication event to thank contributors to the project.

“I started this project quickly after I became mayor three years ago and, in my mind, it was a relatively small period of time before we were able to get it done,” remarks Zelazny. “It was very heartwarming and a bit overwhelming for me to see how people are dedicated to the community and want to help.”

Enbridge is proud to support communities like Cromwell as part of our commitment to improving the quality of life in the areas near our operations and projects, including the Line 3 Replacement Project through northern Minnesota. Our recent $10,000 Safe Community donation supported the installation of the new alert system in Cromwell.

“A lot of the families have been around here for years, and some of their children and their children’s children have settled here,” says Zelazny. “We’re grateful to have a company like Enbridge that’s willing to support a small town like us, and has the funding available to do it.”