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Emporia Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Rae speaks to the Emporia City Council.

Emporia launched its CodeRed alert notification system in late 2011. Within the next month, CodeRed will get swept out the door as the city welcomes the Everbridge Public Warning Center program.

Emporia Emergency Services Coordinator Mike Rae said the timing is right with the CodeRed contract up for renewal. Everbridge is friendlier for its users to enroll and disenroll. Rae said there would be an overlap during the switch to the new system and assured citizens wouldn’t get left without an emergency warning system in place.

“It may be helpful at some point and time if we have to coordinate with the state police or Virginia Department of Emergency Management we’ll be on the same system,” Rae said. “If we’re having a weather emergency and someone is visiting from California, they don’t even have to know what the system is. If they are in this geographic region, and they have their cellphone set to notify them of weather emergencies, they will be hit with the message we choose to send out, whether it be weather-related or any other type of emergency.”

Rae believes the CodeRed system is growing stale. He estimates CodeRed is reaching approximately 1,900 residents in the city.

The Everbridge Public Warning Center is similar to CodeRed. Residents signing up for the service can receive alerts by phone, email, or text. Rae said he is still learning the ins and outs of Everbridge but is confident he will have it down pat when the time comes to launch the system.

For Everbridge to work appropriately, the residents of Emporia need to embrace the new notification system. Rae and city officials will begin an education blitz to reach the citizens of Emporia. He will introduce Everbridge to residents at the Virginia Peanut Festival and National Night out early next month.