Thursday, April 26, 2012
County discusses Code Red system
By SUE WATSON
Supervisor Charles Terry and emergency management coordinator Hugh Hollowell recently presented options to the county board for signing on with an emergency notification system.
The system would be cheaper and spread emergency information such as storm warnings or chemical hazard spills more widely and quickly than a siren system, they said.
Specifics of the system would be provided to the community on how to sign up for notifications by phone, text or email. The alerts would come from the National Weather Service by direct feed. It is the same system Union County has, according to Hollowell.
The notification system in Union County is credited with finding a missing child within 30 minutes after alerts were sent out over a three-mile radius of where the child was last seen, he said.
The cost to the county would be $18,750 a year if it signs up with three other counties, or $22,500 a year if the county can find no partners. That cost is cheaper than the cost of one tornado siren, he said, which is effective over a short range.
Many sirens would be needed to cover the county.
“The county would be locked into the price as long as service goes uninterrupted,” Hollowell said. “They would advertise and let everybody know where to go to sign up and enter phone numbers.”
The system is a rapid dial system that can send hundreds of messages to phones in a designated area and many text messages as well.
The cost per capita for the county would run about 50 cents a year or 60 cents a year if the county goes on its own. The service would discount the cost back to the county if other counties came on later, Hollowell said. The notification service would cover about 65,000 calls a year for the price and text messages are not charged.
Hollowell asked for a letter of intent, while the board of supervisors studies the matter.
“It’s something we need to look at,” he said.
Bill Mobley, executive director of the Industrial Development Authority, said his phones are on the Ole Miss rapid alert notification system because his wife works there. There are late night calls when there are storms but he said the inconvenience is worth it.
The next item of business was accepting a 1977 model pumper truck from Olive Branch, which would be placed at the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department. The truck would be sold to the county for $1, Hollowell said.
The board took up a request from former librarian Diane Schule to pass a resolution to ask the state Legislature not to cut funding for libraries. Schule also thanked the board for the facelift on the library in Holly Springs.
Supervisors then discussed distribution of money for sports programs. With the budget tight, supervisors passed a motion by Keith Taylor to give $1,000 to support the football league in his district and to split the remainder between three districts that have not spent money for sports this budget year. Next year, the allotment will be divided equally among the five supervisor districts. District 5 has already spent its allotment this budget year.
County administrator Larry Hall provided a list of suppliers and bids for board approval. Winning supply bids went to Standard with Memphis Stone as alternate for gravel; Nunnally Trucking with Vulcan as alternate; Rogers for hot mix as sole bidder; Tri-State Lumber as sole bidder; Heavy Equipment for grader blades; and G&O for plastic and corrugated metal pipe as sole bidder. Supervisors passed a motion to accept the bids.
Supervisors also approved Custom Product Corporation as low bidder for signs and Riverside Traffic as primary for striping on state maintained roads in the county.
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