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When disaster strikes, getting vital information out to the community is critical. For residents of Cherokee County, local officials have found a service providing the best way to achieve that goal.

Since 2016, Cherokee County has offered its residents a service, CodeRED, which can alert them to major issues in the area. The service is operated as a joint effort of the Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency and the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and was created as a nationwide service by the company OnSolve.

CodeRED is a web-based communications program allowing public safety officials to notify residents and businesses of highly important information, emergencies or other urgent notifications. When an alert is sent out via telephone, text message, email or social media, the system is able to reach thousands of individuals within a matter of minutes, according to Cherokee EMA.

“In my opinion, mass notification systems are very beneficial to getting critical information out quickly,” Cherokee County EMA Director Renee Cornelison said. “It’s just one of the tools that we use, as well as social media, outdoor warning sirens, etc. depending on the incident.”

In addition to her agency sending out alerts regarding severe weather and other similar items, Cornelison said the sheriff’s office uses it on a regular basis as well, informing citizens of vehicular incidents that may cause traffic backups.

“One thing I really like is the fact that severe weather warnings directly from the National Weather Service are automatically sent to registered citizens who live in the ‘warned area’,” Cornelison said.

Another aspect of the program is how easy it is for anyone to sign up to receive alerts. Links can be found on both the Cherokee County EMA and Cherokee Sheriff’s Office websites. When signing up, the only information the system needs to create an entry for an individual is one’s name, address, phone number(s) and email address. When entering more than one phone number, residents are able to select which number they want to be their primary number and which are alternative numbers. Another benefit of the CodeRED system is that there is no cost for anyone wanting to subscribe to the system. If residents have any questions when trying to sign up for CodeRED, or need assistance when doing so, Cornelison said they can contact Andrea DeCourcey at 678-493-4105.

While the current primary way to sign up for CodeRED alerts is to go online, Cornelison said the county is working on setting up Text to Enroll. Additionally, CodeRED offers a mobile app, available through both the iTunes and the Google Play store for Apple and Android devices.

By signing up for CodeRED, Cherokee County residents are able to obtain all the information they need to stay safe, while the county agencies maintaining the service are able to better complete their mission of protecting the residents they serve every day.