Improvements made to Code Red system

Published 11:25 am Monday, August 1, 2016

City and county officials have launched an improved Code Red warning system featuring a smartphone app and the ablility to provide more accurate emergency warnings to Vicksburg and Warren County residents wherever they are.

“People can go to the Code Red site on either the city’s or the county’s website to sign up and register,” said Bill Ford, a technician with the city’s IT department. “They will be able put in multiple telephone numbers and multiple addresses, but they can’t use the same number for more than one address. The changes in the program and technology have provided us the tools for more capability.”

“And with smartphone technology, we will now be able to send warnings from cell phones and laptop computers; we won’t have to go to the emergency operations center,” Warren County Emergency Management Director John Elfer said.

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Vicksburg implemented Code Red in 2010, and that county moved to the system in 2012. Most residents are familiar with the service for providing information about severe weather, but Elfer said the system can also be used to alert people to other emergencies in portions of the county, city, or countywide.

Ford said city officials recently used Code Red to alert residents in the Zollinger Hill area of northeast Vicksburg about a boil water notice in that area.

The National Weather Service severe weather warnings will still be provided, Elfer said, but the warnings will target addresses in a designated area instead of broadcasting countywide. If a tornado warning is issued for the Redwood area, then only people with addresses in that area will be notified.

“Some warnings will still be issued countywide,” he said. “Flash flood warnings will still be issued countywide, winter storm warnings will be issued countywide.”

People can also get advanced weather by singing up and registering on the website.

The Code Red app is available for smartphones through either the Apple App Store or Google Play.

The app shows a map of the county and the person’s location, and is any alerts are active in their area.

People can also subscribe to a weather warning service for 99 cents a year that will alert them wherever they are to sever weather warnings in that area.

“One good thing is with this system we can intentionally set up groups of people to notify locally when we have an emergency, like law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services, storm watchers and volunteers,” Elfer said. “People may not have land lines any more, but they always have their cell phones.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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