Columbia County is changing its mass emergency alert system to the system provided by New York State known as NY Alert. Currently, all disaster, weather-related and other emergency warnings and alerts for county residents are provided by the Code Red mass alert system. This is a system that Columbia County purchased and has paid to maintain for the past several years.
Beginning August 29, emergency alerts and notifications for tornadoes, earthquakes, severe storms and other weather, natural or man-made disaster and important emergency warnings and information will be provided by the NY ALERT system.
After extensive research by County 911 Director Rob Lopez, he and Emergency Management Director David Harrison, Jr., have recommended to the county Board of Supervisors that Columbia County make the change, rather than renew the annual contract with Code Red. Lopez and Harrison noted that New York State has worked consistently in recent years to provide an improved system, which has proven to be a professional and reliable alert system for communities statewide.
With this move, the county will save more than $32,000 every year, but more importantly, will provide county residents with important emergency alerts and additional informational alert options that include AMBER, sex offender relocation and road closure alerts.
As with the previous alert system, hard-lined phones will begin to receive the alerts automatically August 29. For cell phone and email notifications, county residents must go to the New York State NY Alert website and register for a free account, where they will be asked to enter their information and choose what additional alerts they would like to receive.
County residents are advised to visit www.alert.ny.gov/enroll to register for NY Alert cell phone and email alerts. Registration is now available to be prepared for the August 29 change.