Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pender to change emergency notification system in July

The Emergency Operations Center in Burgaw on Thursday, when Hurricane Michael had produced tornadoes in Pender County. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

PENDER COUNTY — Pender County’s emergency notification system is changing hands this summer and also saving the local government annual funds.

Commissioners unanimously approved Monday night a change to its mass notification provider. Code Red has been in place since 2013, and its contract is expiring in July. The system costs the county $20,000 per year for five years.

Emergency Management director Tommy Batson requested the switch to subscription-based EverBridge, which costs $8,000 per year — a $12,000 savings for the county.

Starting July 1, 2023, residents in Pender County will have to sign up again to receive information about severe weather, evacuations, boil water advisories, and other emergency notices via emails, calls or texts.

Batson said in the coming months, the emergency management department will launch a mass campaign to make residents aware of the change. He also noted about 60% of the data currently in Code Red is outdated or inoperable anyway.

There will be a three-month overlap period to allow for the change over to the new system, which will also include National Weather Alter Service notifications.

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