Emergency Response Proposal

Known as the "CodeRED" system, Meridian Homeland Security Director Bunky Partridge says the proposed system works almost just the opposite of how people often think of using 9-1-1.

"It's the government contacting the citizens instead of the citizens contacting the government," says Partridge.

Around for about five years, the CodeRED system is used in a number of areas, including in Florida. It works by directly calling residents in the time of almost any emergency or special alert.

“If a tornado is spotted in Collinsville, we can call 1,500 people and say: 'look, there is a tornado headed for Collinsville!' It calls 1,500 people a minute. This is just an immediate notice to the citizens," says Partridge.

When it comes to this type of upgrade, Partridge and other supporters of the system say it's much needed.

For example, when there's a tornado in the area, emergency sirens go off within the city. While this can alert residents that a twister is in the area or could move into the area, it doesn't answer the question that many people have about exactly where the tornado is or where exactly it might go. However, with this new system, supporters of it say that would change!

"You have a map of the whole city and county and you draw out that area and you launch a button and it launches the system with my voice or the police chief's, the sheriff's or the fire coordinator's saying: ‘you need to evacuate this area,’ or that there's a missing child or elderly person who's wandered away in the area."

Again, the system would call only residents in the affected areas. Partridge has asked the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County to split the $15,000 price tag for a two-year contract to install the stem. If passed here, Partridge says he plans to seek approval to have the system installed in the other eight counties which his office oversees.

Although no action has been taken on the proposal so far, Partridge says the costs is a small price for saving something priceless, like a life!

We're told that city and county officials are expected to vote on whether or not to approve the new system in coming weeks.

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