New public safety alert program aims to keep Jackson Co. safe - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

New public safety alert program aims to keep Jackson Co. safe

About 42,000 cards have been mailed out to residents of Jackson County in the past two weeks. (Photo source: WLOX) About 42,000 cards have been mailed out to residents of Jackson County in the past two weeks. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

If you live in Jackson County, you can use your smart phone to keep you and your family safe. Code Red has been operation for several months, but few people know about it. That is changing because of a new mass mail promotion, paid for by MEMA. The impressive, glossy flyer has been sent to 42,000 people in Jackson County in the past two weeks.

So what exactly is Code Red? Donald Langham, the emergency management coordinator for Jackson County has the answer. 

"It’s a web based program that people go online and sign up their cell phones. And anytime there's an emergency situation in Jackson County, we can target that area and notify the citizens of the emergency," Langham explained. 

Those emergencies could be missing children, a prison escape, a chemical release or hazardous road conditions. It's a new way of doing business, according to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell. 

"Nothing replaces the old days of knocking on doors. That's still part of it. But you can out such a mass blast of information in a hurry, and if you don't reach everybody, you'll reach people that can talk to each other," Ezell said.

He added that people are notified via phone call, text, or even e-mail.

"The more information you can get out to the people, the better they can make decisions on to what they need to do with their own personal lives and safety."

"There are so many people that have done away with the landline house phone, everybody is using cell phones now so this is a better way to reach everybody," Langham said.

The program is easy to use, and easy to sign up for. Resident Judy May said, "It keeps you informed. Things that you need to know. When something bad happens, you need to make a decision and it lets you know."

"The app is good because in an emergency, you want to know if something is going on. You need to be alerted in bad weather or a child is missing and that is a very good idea," resident David Beckham said. 

County officials say so far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Several hundred people have already signed up.

Officials hope to have the entire system up and running in totality within the next couple of months.

The county is spending $17,000 a year to implement the program. $10,000 was spent sending out the mailers. However, that was paid for by a grant from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

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