Pott. County to launch CodeRed emergency alert system

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
A group of people are using their cell phones.

Pottawatomie County Commissioners have approved the purchase of a new emergency mass notification system called CodeRed.

According to County Emergency Manager Chad Larman, this system will allow the county to send out important information to people during emergency situations.

"We will also be able to send out targeted emergency notifications to subscribers located in a specific geographic areas within the county," Larman said.

He explained the primary function of the system will be to send out alerts during a disaster, such as evacuation orders and more.

"The system will also automatically send out notifications to those signed up if the National Weather Service issues a Tornado Warning, Severe Thunderstorm Warning or Flash Flood Warning if they are located inside that warning area," Larman said.

The cost of the system is $9,141 annually, he said.

At this time, Larman said the County Office of Emergency Management is in the process of setting up CodeRed.

"Once we do we will push out a website that people can go to and sign up to receive notifications or they will be able to text a keyword to a number to opt in also," Larman said.

Along with CodeRed, he said the county will also be able to train people to utilize an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

Once we get the training and sign a memorandum of understanding with FEMA, we will be allowed to use this system also that will integrate with CodeRed, he said.

IPAWS, Larman said, is what is used when Amber Alerts and other notifications are sent out.

"So if we have a life or death situation we will be able to also send out an IPAWS message that will be able to send a message to everyone's phone in the county no matter if they signed up for the alerts or not so that they are aware," Larman said.

Overall, the emergency manager said CodeRed will be a huge benefit to the people of Pottawatomie County.

"Currently, there is no system for Pottawatomie County residents to receive emergency notifications, except for social media, so if residents (are) not on social media then they will not get the message that is trying to be delivered which could be a life or death situation," Larman said.

Check back for updates.