County enacts alert system

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2020

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Emergencies and other events that impact lives can occur at any time and don’t adhere to regular business hours.

According to 911 Coordinator Chris Russell, following a thorough evaluation and review of alerting systems, Charlotte County has implemented CodeRED, a high-speed emergency mass notification service that will alert its citizens.

“The CodeRED system will serve as the backbone of the county emergency planning and communications outreach to both citizens and staff.,” Russell said. “The system sends telephone calls, text messages, emails, and posts to social media channels to inform residents to protect life and property better.”

Russell said the notification system would provide county officials with a reliable, easy-to-use interface to deliver critical information to citizens during emergencies quickly.

“We anticipate using the system to notify residents of weather emergencies, hazardous material incidents, floods, drinking water emergencies, and public health and safety notices,” he said.

CodeRED officials said the system is not only a tool to provide information during an emergency.

“An effective mass notification solution does more than protect individuals and keep them safe. It also gives residents a sense of confidence,” CodeRED officials said. “They understand where to go when they need information about local hazards and impending emergencies.”

CodeRed is not only used for weather and public health emergencies.

According to Russell, public safety officials across the United States have credited CodeRED notifications for successfully locating missing children and apprehending wanted criminals.

All residents living within Charlotte County are encouraged to visit and click on the CodeRED logo to enroll their contact information, including cell phone numbers, text, and email addresses. No one should automatically assume they are in the emergency contact database. The contact information provided during enrollment is secure and will not be sold or divulged to anyone else for other purposes.

To enroll is quick and simple. Go to the Charlotte County website or from your smartphone, text ALERTCHARLOTTE to 99411.

CodeRED will conduct a test call to Charlotte County citizens on Nov. 17 around 10 a.m. to verify correct phone numbers and contacts that have already enrolled.

“It is very important that we get citizens enrolled in this alert system,” Russell said.

The CodeRED alert system is being funded by a $7,500 Virginia Department of Emergency Management with the remaining local match of $7,500.