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Police & Fire News

April 8, 2014

Charlestown under Code Red: City leaders look to increase safety

City County approves purchasing access to Code Red, a web-based system

CHARLESTOWN — Public safety in Charlestown is going digital.

The Charlestown City County voted Monday to approve purchasing access to Code Red, a web-based system that can alert residents of area emergencies within seconds. Code Red sends out the notifications to landlines, cell phones, computers and other digital devices. Alerts can quickly be sent through email and text messages.

The implementation of Code Red in Charlestown comes with a $4,100 annual price tag. Its approval was reached through a unanimous vote from the city council and with the blessing of Charlestown Police Chief Keith McDonald. He believes the community will benefit from the use of Code Red by area leaders and first responders.

“It’s all about keeping our citizens safe,” he said. “I think it is great for the community because there is so much we can do with it.”

McDonald said area residents can receive notifications of inclement weather, water leaks, gas leaks, hazardous material spills, Amber Alerts and drinking-water advisories.

“This is a great resource that we can turn to to get that information out as quickly as possible and keep our citizens safe, and that is our ultimate goal,” he said.

McDonald said officials from area police departments in Clarksville and Louisville have reported their satisfaction with the program after Code Red was implemented in those communities.

Code Red does more than allow residents to get rapid notification of possibly dangerous situations, however. The program also allows city administrators to share news of all sorts, such as announcing upcoming holiday festivals or congratulating a local sports team.

Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall said he’s anticipating Code Red to be in effect for the city within the month.

Charlestown and Emergency Communications Network, the company that provides the Code Red services, are expected to enter a contract in two weeks, after which city leaders will receive training to operate the system.

Colleen Bresnahan, of ECN, gave a presentation of Code Red’s functions and services during the city council meeting. Shea said the company will provide Charlestown with a selection of phone numbers taken from phone books, and “multiple billing sources” to pad its original contact list. Others in Charlestown who want to receive Code Red notifications must opt themselves in on the city’s website or other sources.

The city will have the option to create groups of recipients to receive various, specialized notifications, and those who sign into the system can customize what type of alerts they wish to receive.

FLOOD AREAS

The city council also approved an ordinance to regulate flood hazard areas.

“If we adopt this [ordinance] then the people of Charlestown qualify for federally subsidized flood insurance,” said the city’s attorney Mike Gillenwater. “So, this is, actually, benefiting to the people.”

Gillenwater explained the ordinance was preceded by other regulations, and the new ordinance keeps Charlestown in compliance with updated flood maps.

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