Council briefed on alert system

First Posted: 2/18/2009

LUMBERTON City Council members learned Tuesday about a proposed emergency communications program that would alert residents by telephone of impending or breaking life- and property-threatening situations.
The presentation by Emergency Services Director Mitchell Pate was part of a two-day budget workshop during which the citys 11 department heads present their capital project wish lists for the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget. The workshop wraps up this morning.
The program, CodeRED, is similar to a system installed at Virginia Tech after a shooter there killed students and faculty members over a several-hour rampage. The system calls residents up to five times before leaving a message.
Right now we have no way of informing citizens of impending emergencies, Pate said. This system can cover the entire city, or target particular areas depending on the type of emergency, such as a hurricane or a chemical spill.
The cost to the city would be $10,000 a year with no set-up fees, no dedicated phone lines to purchase or operate, and no special equipment or facilities to buy or maintain.
The annual cost will remain the same so long as the contract is in effect, Pate said.
Council members also heard from Public Works Director Rob Armstrong, Public Works Assistant Director Jim Walters, Electrical Utilities Director Jerry May, Planning Director Brandon Love, and Emergency Services Director Mitchell Pate.
This morning they were scheduled to hear from Police Chief Mike McNeill, Fire Chief Mike Cox, Recreation Director Tim Taylor, Lumberton Regional Airport Manager Lee Hester, MIS Director Travis Branch and Finance Director Alisha Blackmon.

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