ST. CLAIRSVILLE —– Belmont County 9-1-1 has contracted with Emergency Communications Network, LLC to utilize its CodeRED high-speed notification solution. The CodeRED system provides Belmont County officials the ability to quickly deliver emergency messages to targeted areas or the entire county.
On Monday, November 25, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Belmont County 9-1-1 will be doing a countywide “All Call.”  The purpose of this call is to notify residents of the CodeRED system and also to test the current database of phone numbers.  The results of this call will reveal any phone numbers in the database that are no longer in service, or disconnected, and allow them to be flagged for removal.  Clearing the database of these non-working numbers will allow for even faster notifications in the future.
Bryan Minder, Belmont County’s Acting 9-1-1 Director, cautioned that such systems are only as good as the telephone number database supporting them. “If your phone number is not in the database, you will not be called.” The current database only includes landline phones through the local phone company.  Cell phones and VoIP phones (such as Comcast, Vonage, or Magic Jack) are not listed.   One of the reasons the CodeRED system was selected is it gives individuals and businesses the ability to add their own phone numbers directly into the system’s database, which is an extremely important feature.
“No one should automatically assume his or her phone number is included,” Minder said, urging all individuals and businesses to log onto the Belmont County 9-1-1 website, WWW.BELMONTCOUNTY911.COM, and follow the link on the homepage to the “CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment” page. Those without Internet access may call the Belmont County 9-1-1 Administrative Office at (740) 699-0398, Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.) to supply their information over the phone. Required information includes first and last name, street address (physical address, no P.O. boxes), city, state, zip code, and primary phone number.  Up to two phone numbers and one e-mail address can be entered per residence.
All businesses should register, as well as all individuals who have unlisted phone numbers, who have changed their phone number or address within the past year, and those who use a cellular phone or VoIP phone as their primary number.
“CodeRED allows geographically based notifications, which means street addresses are required to ensure emergency notification calls are received by the proper individuals in a given situation. The system works for cell phones too, but we need to have an associated street address to provide relevant messages,” Minder explained.
In addition to the emergency notifications, residents will also have the option to choose to receive General Notifications and Severe Weather Warnings.  On the Community Notification Enrollment page, there is a section labeled Alert Types.  In that section, residents may opt-in to receive the additional notifications by checking the corresponding boxes.  
“The Severe Weather Warning notice is a great feature, free to the residents of Belmont County,” said Minder.  “It utilizes the warnings sent out by the National Weather Service.  If your address lies in the warning area, you will receive the alert.”  Residents who are not located in the designated warning area will not be alerted.  “It is very specific to the addresses in the warning area.  There is no reason to send out a warning to people in Colerain or Martins Ferry, when the area affected is Barnesville.”  
There are four warnings that residents can choose to receive:  Tornado, Thunderstorm, Flash Flooding, and Winter Storm.  With the constant threat of flooding along creeks and streams in Belmont County, choosing to receive the Flash Flood Warning notification could end up being a lifesaving feature.        
 CodeRED gives those who want to be included an easy and secure method for inputting information. The data collected will only be used for emergency notification purposes.
Minder stressed, “Please do not dial 9-1-1 to ask questions about signing up or to provide information that you would like entered. Questions should be directed to the Belmont County 9-1-1 Administrative Office at 740-699-0398, during normal business hours.”
For those residents with smartphones, Emergency Communications Network also offers a CodeRED Mobile app for Android and iPhone users.  This mobile app gives users the ability to receive notifications when traveling away from their home address, or the Belmont County area, and into another location that uses the CodeRED system.  “You can be driving through another state or county that uses CodeRED, and when they put out an alert, you will get it on your phone through the app,” said Minder.  A link to the CodeRED Mobile app will also be available on the 9-1-1 website.