Hopkins County will be transitioning from its current emergency management system used to alert county residents in emergency-type situations Sept. 1
The county's contract with CodeRed, in place for several years, is set to expire at the end of this month, and a new deal has been reached with Rave Alert System, said county officials.
Rave Alert will automatically send emergency information to more than 15,000 landlines in Hopkins County; however, to receive these alerts on a cellphone, residents will have to opt-in to the Smart911 program, said Hopkins County's 911 Supervisor Robert Littlepage
Smart911 is a free system that allows users to sign up online for emergency notifications. Citizens may provide key information for 911 dispatchers, which they can use during an emergency, said Littlepage.
"Helping out everyone in the community, whether it's a time of need for fire, medical emergency or public safety -- Smart911 helps the community, but it helps emergency management and the fire department," said Littlepage. "As a dispatcher, we're only as good as the information we have."
Unlike the previous system, Smart911 gives users the ability to secondary information, such as how many children are in a household, age ranges, medical history, how many pets are in the home, generator capabilities and how many floors a house has. All of this information can benefit an emergency responder, said Hopkins County Emergency Management Agency Director Nick Bailey.
"For example, you get somebody that maybe has a severe allergy, has an anaphylactic reaction, calls in, they only get in a word or two," Bailey said. "The dispatcher has the name on the screen and knows that this person has major allergies. The dispatcher can pass that information along, even if they don't get any information from the caller. That's the goal, to provide the best service that we can in a quick manner to the public."
It's not just about providing personal information, but also about receiving an emergency notification. Citizens can choose what emergency notifications they want to be notified about and how to receive those notifications, which can come via text, email or a phone call.
"One of the good things about Smart911 is that you can opt in or out of the different types of notifications," said Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr. "If you don't want to know about the weather, you can opt-out of that information.
The new EMS is user-friendly and takes roughly 5 minutes to fill out the information, said Littlepage. What used to take a lot of time and a lot of steps for dispatchers to create emergency notifications through CodeRed now takes fewer steps and is much easier for them to use, he said.
The county is replacing CodeRed for several reasons -- they want something that is more up-to-date, and all-inclusive, and that it's cheaper than its predecessor, said Whitfield.
"The first year for the Rave Alert System was $19,500, and every subsequent year is $17,000," said Whitfield. For comparison, CodeRed cost the county $19,000 its first year and $20,000 annually.
"The goal is to help keep the citizens safe and to help the first responders respond in the most efficient way possible," said Whitfield.
If you previously opted-in for CodeRed, you will have to opt-in to Smart911 as well, said Bailey.
"If it's a cellphone, you have to sign up because it won't automatically transfer over if it's a cellphone from CodeRed," said Bailey.
To register for Smart911 alerts visit -- bit.ly/smart911_HC, download the app or call 270-821-1720 to speak to Littlepage if you need assistance signing up.