Marlinton Town Council Considers Code Red Notification System

Marlinton, WV – Currently, when flood waters threaten the town of Marlinton, phone calls and door-to-door visits from the fire department are used to spread the word. But Marlinton Town Council is looking at some new technology to notify residents of emergencies, while freeing up emergency personnel to handle other critical tasks. The Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department’s Shawn Dunbrack says four or five of his crew must work the phones to notify residents and business owners of the danger. Those emergency personnel could be providing other aid in an emergency, says Dunbrack.

“Same thing with the Fire Department. If we could cut back on having ten crews doing door-to-door notifications, those guys could be helping move stuff up. We could be moving equipment out of this building and not losing assets like we have in the past, because we’ve been notifying people. I think it would be a big benefit.”

Meeting in special session on Wednesday, Marlinton Town Council members took a look at the Code Red notification system and how it might be used in a town emergency. The system allows emergency officials to record a message that is then automatically dialed to the phone numbers of residents in the affected area. In addition to flooding concerns, the system can be used to issue boil water advisories and notifications of law enforcement emergencies.

In instances where the call doesn’t go through, emergency personnel can view a report that shows where they might need to go to knock on a door. The system can also send e-mails and text messages when appropriate.

Code Red currently serves only one customer in West Virginia: Marion County. In Virginia however, the system is used in Bath, Allegheny and Giles counties, as well as 20 other counties and municipalities.

Pocahontas County Director of Emergency Management Melvin Martin also attending Wednesday’s presentation. Martin says he is interested in the possibility of using Code Red as a county-wide emergency notification system. He says he will support council members who want to approach the County Commission about working a county-wide license for Code Red into the county budget.

“We’re doing our budgets right now for the next fiscal year We can hit them up with it and see what they say.”

Town council members were generally in favor of the system, but they decided to take a week to digest the presentation and make a final decision at their regular meeting next Wednesday at 7 PM in council chambers

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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