Automated calls will be made in emergencies
In case of an emergency, Caldwell County now has a new system in place to automatically phone all residents with an alert.
CodeRED is designed to alert residents with recorded messages in cases of severe weather warnings, mass evacuations or other emergencies where information needs to be quickly provided to the public. It works similar to a "reverse 911" system, in which the system dials out to all residences in its database.
"We will not use it as a general information system, similar to what Caldwell County Public Schools uses to give information to parents," said LouAnne Kincaid, public information officer for Caldwell County. "Citizens will not be receiving phone calls all the time from CodeRED, only in emergencies."
CodeRED allows officials to limit the calls to just phone numbers in areas affected by an emergency. CodeRED also allows the county to customize messages to be sent out on calls, instead of using a pre-programmed warning message.
The system has been used by Catawba County for several years.
Phone numbers published in area phone directories already are included in the database. Unpublished phone numbers and cellphone numbers are not automatically in the database, and officials are urging people to call or go online to have those numbers added to the database.
"If your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called," said Robbie Wilkie, the county's emergency services director. "No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included, even if it is a published number. They need to go into the system and check."
People also can choose to have their number removed from the database.
The system will cost the county $25,000 a year to operate, Kincaid said.
To opt in to the CodeRED system, call Emergency Services at 828-757-1419, or visit www.caldwellcountync.org and click on the CodeRED icon on the home page. To opt out, call , call 800-566-9780.