EMA discontinues CodeRED weather alerts


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com



The CodeRED weather warning system used by some 20,000 Delaware County residents will be discontinued this month in favor of more efficient systems, emergency officials said Wednesday.

Sandy Mackey, public information officer for the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said Wednesday that the CodeRED weather warning system will be discontinued May 22 and will no longer notify county residents of severe weather.

Last year the county office had urged county residents to sign up for phone, email and mobile alerts from CodeRED, and 20,000 residents registered.

Mackey said the decision to discontinue CodeRED was made in part because technology has changed and improved in the time since CodeRED was implemented and there are better systems available.

Mackey said one of the problems with CodeRED was that it could only process 1,000 customers at a time, meaning notifying the 20,000 people signed up for the service could take several minutes.

“The rapidly expanding population of Delaware County has caused a significant increase in CodeRED Weather Warning users, thus resulting in longer notification times for larger weather events,” the agency said in a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon. “Discontinuing the CodeRED Weather Warning system was not a decision taken lightly. The safety of the community is of vital importance as it ensures that everyone has ample warning time in the event of severe weather.”

Although the weather warning system is being shut down, Mackey said the CodeRED community notifications for evacuation notices, law enforcement actions, boil alerts, missing children and other non-weather situations will still be used.

Mackey said that Delaware EMA now recommends using the following services for weather notifications:

• The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards, a radio broadcasting network and part of the National Weather Service. More information can be found at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/.

• Wireless Emergency Alerts, emergency messages sent by authorized government bodies directly though mobile carriers. It is also a part of the National Weather Service. More information can be found at www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/wea.html.

• A new Twitter account designed to tweet severe weather warnings. Delaware County has recently started a “Twitter & Text” alert system for severe weather warnings.

County residents can follow @delcoemawx on Twitter to receive the same alerts the EMA and some partner agencies receive, Mackey said.

Another option is to “fast follow” @delcoemawx on cellphones to receive the same warnings via text messages. To receive alerts, send “follow @delcoemawx” to 40404. This is a free service. However, standard texting rates apply. These alerts are for Delaware County only.

The EMA said that sending “stop @delcoemaxw” to 40404 will disable future text alerts from the service.

More information can be found at the Delaware EMA’s website — www.delcoema.org.

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.