Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 25, 2012

Athens to get funding for another year of CodeRed

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — Athens will be getting funding for another year of the CodeRED system, used to notify citizens in emergency situations.

The East Texas Council of Governments has granted $140,303 for the various entities using the system in the region. Athens has been allocated $4,025 for more than 9,000 minutes of use. If the city exceeds the allotted minutes, it will be charged for every excess minute used.

Athens voted in 2010 to begin using the reverse-emergency notification system. CodeRED, which is funded by a Homeland Security grant, is a telephone communication service that allows the county/city Emergency Management Coordinator to quickly notify citizens about emergency situations such as tornados and storm events, drinking water contamination, evacuation notices, missing-person alerts, bomb threats, hostage situations and chemical spills.

According to the ETCOG, the CodeRED system has been contracted through Emergency Communications Network since 2009 for all of the counties served by ETCOG, with the exception of Henderson County. 

Henderson County was already using First Call, another reverse-notification system at the time the ETCOG contracted with CodeRed.

Commissioners Court voted to enter the CodeRED system as well, but to continue using FirstCall as its primary provider, and CodeRED as a safety net.

A total of four years of billing with a sum of $710,060 has been granted by ETCOG to date, to provide East Texas with CodeRED. The 2012 - 2013 contract allocated $140,303 to supply the CodeRED service to the entities.

According to the company website, “The system is capable of dialing 50,000 phone numbers per hour. It then delivers our recorded message to a live person, or an answering machine, making three attempts to connect to any number.”

In June, 2010,  the City of Athens conducted a dry run of the CodeRED emergency notification system Wednesday that triggered calls from citizens who didn’t realize the call was only a test.