During the past two months, hundreds of local residents have signed on to receive automatic messages sent to their home, cell or smart phones, warning them of an emergency occurring in the community.
Even so, the number of people signed on to the CodeRED automatic notification system represents only a fraction of Greenville’s population.
During April, the Greenville City Council voted against a budget amendment to upgrade the city’s emergency warning sirens, following months of problems with the units, instead voicing support for CodeRED, a high speed telephone communication service that can deliver customized, pre-recorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses at the rate of 60,000 calls per hour.
The CodeRED system uses intranet mapping which allows for calls to be placed to a certain geographic area of Greenville, or city-wide as circumstances warrant.
The system’s main purpose is to notify citizens or groups of citizens in emergency situations. The system has the ability to be used for non-emergency notifications as well.
The system has used to relay important information during periods of non-weather related situations, such as during a late January standoff on Rabb Drive, or in the event of a missing or endangered individual.
The Council members believed a widespread and aggressive campaign was needed to get residents and businesses signed up for the system, which has been available since the fall of 2005. At the time of the Council’s vote, less than 1,900 people were signed up for the system.
Since then, multiple deadly and destructive tornadoes have struck Granbury and communities in Oklahoma.
City of Greenville Public Relations Consultant Lori Philyaw said there has been a slight surge in the numbers of people wanting CodeRED.
“The police department said that since May 1, we have had an additional 337 people sign up,” Philyaw said.
Even so, that means only about 9 percent of Greenville’s population of almost 26,000 people are covered by the CodeRED system.
Local residents who do not have Internet access that wish to sign up for CodeRED, may call the City Manager’s Office at 903- 457-3116 or visit the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library for assistance.