The city of Willis intends to discontinue the Code Red emergency alert system by Fiscal Year 2018. City Manager Hector Forester informed the Council on Tuesday during the regular meeting at City Hall about the plan to switch to a new emergency alert system, Smart911, following a presentation from the executive director for the Montgomery County Emergency Communication District, Chip VanSteenberg.
MCECD has partnered with Code Red for several years for public emergency notifications via voice, text message or email, including customized automated weather alerts, VanSteenberg said. “We are changing providers from Code Red to Smart911,” VanSteenberg said. Those who wish to continue receiving alerts after September 1 will need to register with Smart911, he said.
“We have 28,000 people registered on Code Red now,” VanSteenberg said. “Over the next few months we will be working to get people off of Code Red and on to Smart911.”
The city of Willis currently pays to provide Code Red and plans to eliminate it by Fiscal Year 2018 in order to switch to Smart911, Forester said
“It’s going to save us some money,” Forester said. “...we will no longer need to pay, but it provides the same services and more.”
Smart911 is provided by Rave Mobile Safety and is available in over 1,500 communities across 40 states, according to information from MCECD. On June 23, MCECD introduced the free national public safety service to the county, which also allows individuals and families to create an online safety profile. The Smart911 safety profile includes critical information for first responders such as names, home address, medical notes, disabilities, emergency contacts, and even descriptions of pets, MCECD stated.
“When 9-1-1 is dialed from any phone number registered to the profile, the information is shown to dispatchers who can relay addresses and current information to first responders in the field,” MCECD stated.