A plan to transition from the county’s One Call Now emergency notification system to a CodeRED system was approved during a recent meeting of the Harlan County E-911 Advisory Board.
Board Chairman David McGill said the cost will be an additional $3,000 per year for a two-year contract.
The CodeRED system is designed to enable local government officials to record, send and track personalized messages to thousands of citizens in minutes during emergency situations.
“I wanted to go with someone reputable, because we use this quite a bit,” said McGill. “CodeRED offers something unique and specific to them, which is weather related. You know how we send out the weather warnings. Well, CodeRED will do this for us. It’s geographically based. We don’t have to call them — they will monitor this for us. This is only for a warning. We do decide what warnings we want listed. The public will have to go in and specifically sign up for this feature — that’s the only draw back. Some people don’t like that, but the majority look at it as a service — not a drawback and absolutely love it.”
McGill said he will post the information on Facebook and other websites instructing the public on how to sign up for this service.
“We’ll get the word out as soon as possible through other advertising avenues as well, such as our local newspaper and radio stations,” said McGill.
Harlan Police Chief Mike Thomas recommended that manual calls still be made by Harlan County Emergency Management staff until everyone is familiarized with the new CodeRED system. Everyone agreed.
In other board action, Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird recommended development of a radio system for three sites on Black Mountain.
“I would like to develop one site at a time — do it in phases,” said McGill. “We can apply for grants to help us with this.”
Lipfird said if the project is done in phases, he felt big Black Mountain should be the first site developed.
“Right now, that will serve two purposes,” said Lipfird. “It will finish serving the Tri-City area. Kingdom Come Park serves it well, especially up Cloverlick and that area, but when you get up in the head of Benham and there on up, it’s spotty. It’s bad on Holmes Mill — Big Black will cover all of that.”
McGill said the cost to set up one site will cost approximately $50,000, including a building, a pad, two microwave links and six repeaters per site. He said permission has already been given for the project, but they are “waiting on the money” to get started.
“I think it’s important that we get started soon on developing these sites,” said Lipfird.
Approval was made by the board to begin the Black Mountain project as soon as the funds are available.
Also approved during the meeting was the addition of both Harlan EMS and Life Care Ambulance services being added to the Harlan County Emergency Management radio system after a user agreement is signed. The cost will be $50 per month.
McGill said this is just for the use of the system and does not include dispatching or equipment. He said the system was designed to hold the fire, police, ambulances, county road department and all city maintenance departments.
“This will help them where they get out in low-lying areas, where they have no radio coverage,” said Chris Allen, a board member.
After going into executive session per 61.810 (l.c), the board returned with no action taken.
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