Highland Sheriff talks about CodeRed notification system
Monterey, Va. – When the wind storm struck Highland County on June 29 of this year, Sheriff Tim Duff, was able to send out a message to many county residents about what happened and how long the power company estimated it would take to restore power. This was possible because just a few weeks earlier, the sheriff had signed a contract with Emergency Communications Network of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to enroll the county in their CodeRed emergency notification service. Sheriff Duff talks about how the county went about starting up this system.
“We heard about this emergency notification system, commonly known as CodeRed from Bath County a year or so ago,” said Sheriff Duff. “I ran it through the Board of Supervisors. I believe it was mid-May, very clearly stating that this was an unbudgeted item. But I would be using asset forfeiture money, locally referred to as drug money.’ For a cost of $2,000, it breaks down to about 45 to 50 cents per person per year for this notification system. So, as far as the economics are concerned, this would be the most economic was of putting out a mass notification to everybody in the county,” he said.
Sheriff Duff goes on to describe the first time he used the CodeRed system. At that time the contact information for all county land owners had not yet been put into the system, so many county residents did not receive those messages.
“The first incident that I had to manually engage the system was during the big wind storm of June 29th of this year,” said Sheriff Duff. “I did it totally backwards because we were not live at the time. So I physically called the home office and told them that we were a subscriber, we have a contract cut, and that the county needed immediate help due to the wind storm. Ultimately when this system is fully functioning, we could isolate a road, a partial road, one side of a road, and all the way up to the entire county,” he said.
Recently, County Administrator Roberta Lambert was able to send out a message targeting McDowell residents regarding a boil water notification for folks using the McDowell water system. So, once all the county landowners are entered into the system CodeRed can target a message to any location in the county.
Sheriff Duff adds that his office is taking steps this month to get as many county landowners into the CodeRed system as possible.
“You’ll be receiving this week a mass mailing from my office,” said Sheriff Duff. “We will do everything in our power to hit 85-90% of the county (residents). If you do not receive something from my office this week, or certainly by next Monday or Tuesday, please call me or go to a neighbor who has received it. It is simply a script drafted by me with the websites, with some phone numbers and explaining some of the processes involved. Why we have it and the biggest one, the benefit to the folks in the county. We’re trying to get residents. We’re trying to get some nonresident landowners, if they have a 911 address. If you put down your cell number with your 911 address here in the county, when I put out a broadcast, you will get it,” he said.
For more information or for assistance entering your location and phone number into CodeRed contact the Highland County Sheriff’s office at 540-468-2210.