The new system replaces Blackboard, a system the city utilized last year for emergency notifications. The system drew some criticism from city residents who complained they received too many calls.
Code Red was put in place six weeks ago, just in time for the volatile spring weather season. The old system was automatic, but under the new system, residents and businesses must sign on to get the emergency notifications from the city.
Already about 200 businesses and residents have signed up, and City Manager Scott Wood said the city would like to see more people opt into the system.
The city has 9,341 homes and 1,480 businesses that could participate in the system.
Earlier this year, the City Council approved the contract with the company, which costs about $16,000 per year.
Wood said he “wants to be sure folks are encouraged” to sign up for the system.
“It better suits the purposes and needs of our community,” Wood said.
Residents can visit www.canton-georgia.com or call Canton City Hall at (770) 704-1500 to sign up for Code Red.
Under the system, residents will receive calls from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concerning severe weather events, such as flash flooding, severe thunderstorms or tornadoes.
In other events, the city can directly notify residents of events such boil water advisories and water main breaks.
Canton Fire Chief Dean Floyd said he could use the system to alert residents to missing children or adults in the area.
With the old system, there was no way in which the city could tailor alerts and warnings to neighborhoods, Wood said.
Wood said the city can decide when to “pull the trigger” with Code Red.
Wood said Code Red allows the city to avoid being “trigger happy,” which he said would compromise the perception of the system’s emergency notification capabilities.
Canton City Council member John Beresford, who advocated Code Red’s use, said he’s satisfied with the program.
He said the system can “drill down” to notify only a specific area of the city, as opposed to notifying all residents and businesses and getting everyone up in arms.
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood agreed.
“You can narrow down more closely pin-point areas you want to notify,” he said. “There may not be any need to notify Towne Mill if there’s a problem down in Prominence Point.”