Erath County currently uses CodeRED as a warning system to alert citizens of emergencies. On Wednesday, commissioners approved an additional application that will enhance CodeRED.
The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) program is used nationwide and can be incorporated into local systems, such as CodeRED, to alert the public of emergencies through several different technologies.
“IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure, and will save time when time matters most, protecting life and property,” the FEMA website states. “IPAWS provides public safety officials with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System, Wireless Emergency Alerts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio and other public alerting systems from a single interface.”
IPAWS alert pathways include radio and television, cell phones, internet applications, sirens and road signs.
“This is another outlet for people to get the message whether it’s coming from the state or the federal government,” said Erath County emergency management coordinator Steve Cole. “So not only would it allow us with CodeRED to reach local radio and television with our message, but it would allow the federal government’s alert to go through the TV, radio and also your mobile device. We would use IPAWS if it was something more on the severe side of things.”
The IPAWS application will be an additional $1,250 a year and Cole, along with other personnel, will receive FEMA-sponsored training.
IPAWS will go into effect on Oct. 1. Those wishing to receive the alert must sign up for CodeRED.
To sign up for the alerts visit the county’s website and look for the link located at the bottom of the homepage.