Thursday, January 9, 2014
Citizens urged to utilize Code Red
By SUE WATSON
Not many people in Marshall County have signed up for the free Code Red early warning system, according to Hugh Hollowell, emergency management coordinator.
He said under 1,000 people have enrolled in the early warning system provided free to everyone in Marshall County and paid for by the taxpayers of Marshall County.
Holly Springs Fire Chief Kenny Holbrook agreed that more people should take advantage of this free service that automatically sends out warnings before bad weather arrives. It also can be used to report hazards or emergency warnings to the public, including amber alerts.
Holly Springs will soon install weather sirens over the city. Holbrook said citizens would be well covered with these two alert systems. He said anyone who does not know how to subscribe to the Code Red notification service can get help from him at the fire station.
Code Red notifications can be registered to come over a land-line phone, a cell phone, in an email or through a text message, and over all four communications devices. Citizens can sign up for Code Red by going to the Marshall County website, www.marshallcoms.org. Click on the Code Red signup button on the homepage (upper left-hand corner of page) and follow the menu to enroll in Code Red. When listing home address, do not put in a post office number; rather the home street address.
Holbrook said the weather sirens, expected to be in service by late spring or early summer, receive the same notification from the National Weather Service as does Code Red.
“The 911 and emergency managers encourage people to take advantage of what’s out there that is free,” he said. “You can’t beat free. It may be an extra warning that saves a life.”
Holbrook said recent severe weather systems have activated Code Red notifications to those who have enrolled for the free service.
Hollowell said some of the residents who have signed up for Code Red have expressed their appreciation to him for getting an early warning.
“The problem is most people get complacent and think nothing is going to happen to them,” he said.
Code Red will send out alerts from the National Weather Service when there is a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flooding threat in the geographical calling area.
Holbrook said emergency managers have been advised the current trend in weather patterns is that severe weather threats are not predictable, not even the long-range forecasts. But immediate weather conditions are more predictable than in the past, he said, making the early warning notification system more valuable at the moment of most eminent threat.
Holbrook and Hollowell work together to bring the most advanced services to the area. Hollowell is emergency management coordinator for the county, and Holbrook, as fire chief for the city, serves in that role in Holly Springs.
“I applaud Kenny for his efforts,” Hollowell said. “He does a good job to protect the citizens.”
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