Considering ‘Code Red’

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By Donna Thornton/News Editor

In analyzing the response to the Jan. 28 snow-in of Etowah and surrounding counties, Etowah County Chief Administrative Officer Patrick Sims said it may be time for the county to give serious consideration to a “Code Red” messaging system.

As the snow came down on Jan. 28, some of the county’s emergency responders experienced problems with radios, and – like so many people trying to reach family members or make arrangements to pick up children – couldn’t get through by cell phones.

Sims and several others at the meeting said their most reliable method of communication was text messaging.

Commissioners have heard from Code Red representatives before, detailing how the system can send emergency communications to the systems subscribers.

Sims said its similar to the system most school systems now use to send messages to parents and students.

Parents register for the alert system through the school web site, providing the best way to get information to them.

Sims said if Etowah County were to purchase the system, there would be no charge for Etowah County residents to register for alerts and bad weather, road closings or other emergencies.

Given the challenges in contact experienced during the snow emergency, most of the commissioners expressed support for the idea of taking a closer look at Code Red.

Otherwise, commissioners were pleased with the way emergency responders, county employees and local school personnel dealt with the snow.

It was helpful, too, they said, that people heeded the advice to stay home while the roads were dangerous.

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