By Steve Plunkett
Gulf Stream’s new CodeRED emergency alert system is up and running.
“It is fully activated and ready to go,” Town Manager Greg Dunham told town commissioners at their Oct. 12 meeting.
The system allows town officials to send residents warnings via phone calls, email and cellphone text messages. CodeRED also has a smartphone app. But residents have to sign up to participate. “It’s not an automatic thing,” Dunham said.
The town is paying provider OnSolve LLC $1,500 a year for the service, which otherwise is free to residents.
CodeRED is designed to send critical and time-sensitive communications such as alerts about missing children, emergency preparedness, wildfires, emergency evacuation notices, a public health crisis and criminal activity.
Gulf Stream joins Delray Beach, Highland Beach and Boca Raton in offering CodeRED. The program is easily tailored to reach large and small audiences.
“We could do the whole town, or we could do one block of a street. Actually it could be as little as one or two houses,” Dunham said in July when he first pitched the idea to commissioners.
Some residents complained following Hurricane Irma last year that people in other cities got emergency notices on their cellphones, Dunham said then.
Vice Mayor Thomas Stanley, who was already signed up for Delray Beach’s CodeRED alerts, said he received six or seven text messages a day during Irma.
Town Finance Director Rebecca Tew said she hopes to convert everyone who sent Town Hall an email address for official notices into CodeRED participants. She has 300 to 500 email addresses of residents, house managers “and also a lot of personal assistants.”
Gulf Stream sent residents a letter urging them to go to the town’s website and click on CodeRED to sign up.
Residents can choose a user name and password or register with a Google, Facebook or Twitter account.
In other business, Dunham said Comcast has hired a subcontractor, Cypress Communications, to put its cable television and internet lines underground, much like Florida Power & Light hired subcontractor Wilco to bury its electric lines. Cypress, which expects to spend 90 days on the job, will start from Golfview and work north.
“We’re trying to get AT&T to start from the north side and move south,” Dunham said.