Alerts: More than weather

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – An alert sent out Friday through the Lee County CodeRED alert system about a missing woman left many wondering why they received it.
The CodeRED system incorporates the Lee County Emergency Management Agency’s severe weather, emergency and general information alerts, making it easy for the county emergency services to send notifications to Lee Countians.
More than 8,000 Lee County residents signed up for severe weather alerts through the system when it went live Jan. 30, which automatically enrolled them to receive emergency alerts.
The emergency alert system also uses public information databases to populate its notification rolls to broaden its notification area.
The county has used the emergency notification twice, both times to locate missing people.
The first alert was sent to a narrowly defined area when a child was suspected to be missing in that area. The second alert was sent countywide because a woman had been missing for days.
County Administrator Sean Thompson said the law enforcement agency sending out the alert defines the size of a notification area.
Anyone enrolled in the emergency alert system can opt out, but Thompson said to remember this system is used for all emergencies, from missing people to chemical spills or derailed trains.
“I really hope nobody opts out, this isn’t something they’ll get on a daily basis,” Thompson said. “We pulled the triggger on the text and email (Friday) and we’re still developing protocols on how and when it’s used.”
Thompson said some people signed up for text messages, emails and phone calls and probably received seven alerts Friday.
To opt-out of the emergency notifications, pick up a form from the Lee County Emergency Management Agency office at the Lee County Courthouse or on the djournal.com website. The form must be signed.
CodeRED participants who want to continue to receive emergency alerts but want to change what alerts they recieve or how they recieve them can do so by going to www.leecoms.com and clicking on the CodeRED registration link or calling (662) 841-9020.
jb.clark@journalinc.com