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Bellwood company prepares Floridians for Irma

As Hurricane Irma closes in on Flordia, a company in Bellwood has made it possible for New Smyrna Beach residents in Florida to get information and alerts on their phones just in time for the upcoming storm. (WJAC)

BELLWOOD -- As Hurricane Irma closes in on Florida, a company in Bellwood has made it possible for New Smyrna Beach residents in Florida to get information and alerts on their phones just in time for the upcoming storm.

Link Computer Corporation in Bellwood is about 1,000 miles away from New Smyrna Beach, but for the past two days Link web developers have worked nonstop to get a new website up and running before the storm hits.

"(Muni-Link) is really built, or it's purpose is, to be able to communicate," Link's chief operating officer said.

Developers like Dan Papi, a customer service representative and graphic designer, said the company had five other customers ahead of New Smyrna Beach. Company priority shifted after word of the storm and New Smyrna jumped to the top of their list.

"I remember the guy coming over and saying 'Hey can you do this?' and we were like, 'Not really,' but we gave it a shot," Papi said.

The website has been live for about 24 hours, and residents have already begun to utilize the information and alerts to help them prepare for the storm.

Papi said the hard work became personal.

"That's all I've done for the last couple days, so it's been rough because it's the most impacted by the hurricane I've ever been. I feel like I have a personal interest in this now. I told them if they need anything, let me know," he said.

The municipality's old website and computer system operated through a server in a physical building. With the old system, if the building was compromised with the server inside, so was the website. Muni-Link is cloud-based, and won't be affected by physical storm damage.

Residents can sign up to receive text and email alerts for emergency information or updates from municipal authorities, including boil water advisories.

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