Pulaski County Urges Community to Register for CodeRED Alerts - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Pulaski County Urges Community to Register for CodeRED Alerts

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Pulaski County has a new way to alert the community of an emergency.

"This system will call those (numbers) in 15 to 20 minutes," said Emergency Management Coordinator Josh Tolbert. He's describing CodeRED, the county's new high-speed emergency notification service. It allows the county to reach more than 13,000 phone numbers automatically in its database from households with land lines .

"We can call the entire county," Tolbert said. "We could base it on a geographic area, maybe just a one block area or just a few homes. We could do a hosted group - contacts we have like employee contacts, first responder contacts."

Tolbert can send an alert for anything from a boil water advisory to a missing person or a hazardous spill alert. But perhaps even more importantly, CodeRED allows Pulaski County to get some of the most critical alerts out faster than it could before. "It was one of the most important features," Tolbert said.

Unlike its previous alert system, CodeRed has a weather feature. After the tornado two years ago, the county looked for something better. "The system just wasn't fast enough, it wasn't capable," Tolbert said. "It's something we would have to initiate and you think you might have 15 minutes', five minutes' warning for a tornado."

CodeRed's three weather alerts include severe thunderstorm, flash flooding, and tornado. They're automatically generated by the National Weather Service, cutting out the middle man and cutting the time is takes to get the warning out. "These are the most critical, the most urgent warnings," Tolbert said.

Everyone will have to specifically register for weather alerts. Businesses and people with unlisted numbers, cell phones only, or Internet-based phones will also have to enroll. Pulaski County is stressing that businesses and people with cell phones or Internet phones need to sign up because it doesn't happen automatically as it does for people with land lines.

You can register online. People without Internet access can also enroll by calling Pulaski County Administration at 980-7705, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You'll be required to provide your address for CodeRED alerts sent based on geographical information in specific situations.