DOCO Emergency alert system gets upgrade

Code Red Alerts / Jessica Fairley

Albany's Code Red system is getting an upgrade that officials hope say will provide another level of safety. The system is used to alert people of severe weather, but once the changes kick in, crime emergencies will also be sent out.

It's an initiative proposed by Albany Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard. In the event of a crime Code Red can get the word out fast and in large quantities.

"It'll only be for extreme emergencies and to reach people. We'll be able to call cell phones and regular phones and alert people," said Albany Commissioner Roger Marietta.

The method will fill people in on evacuation plans, missing persons alerts and natural disasters. Officials say it can be a useful tool for the whole community.

"There might be in some cases near a school that there's somebody with a gun. You know they may want to shut down the school and alert the neighborhood that somebody has been sighted in the vicinity," said Commissioner Marietta.

The web based system is set up to scope out an area and zone in on the affected families. Once a name pops up, phones start ringing.

"If they have an answering machine, it will leave a message. If it's busy, it will try to call back up to five times," said Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Jim Vaught.

The program will repeatedly try to get the information to people in harm's way. Officials say enhancing the capabilities of Code Red allows them to use the feature to its full capacity.

"It'll be priceless if we can save maybe one or two lives over the next few years," said Marietta.

The alert system is set up for only Dougherty County residents.