Billy Ray McKelvy

Sevier County and the City of De Queen received several questions about the CodeRED mass notification system and why it did not send a message when it was expected.

Wednesday, Aug. 22, the National Weather Service issued a “significant thunderstorm advisory” for parts of Sevier County. That information was communicated to law enforcement officers by the county dispatcher and some folks heard it on police scanners.

The CodeRED system will be activated in case of a storm warning or tornado warning, but last week’s storm did not rise to the level of a warning. Some people asked if the system is working because they were expecting a call.

Tuesday, Aug. 28, an “all call” test of the CodeRED system was initiated. A phone message was sent to 6,530 phones in a matter of minutes, an indication that the system is working.

The City of De Queen has been using the system to call a specific list of phone numbers. Last Friday, the city used the mapping function to notify Monday and Tuesday sanitation routes that pickup will be one day late due to Labor Day.

We continue to try the system and learn more about how it might be helpful.

Weather warnings are issued based on notification by the National Weather Service. Only those in the area of the warning will be notified, not the entire county.

Some users thought the test call was a telemarketer and hung up. You can avoid this by putting the CodeRED numbers in your cell phone so caller ID can recognize the source of the call. The number is 866-419-5000 for emergencies and 855-969-4636 for non-emergencies.

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