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Coast city encourages residents to sign up for alert system

November 20, 2021 GMT

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi coast city is trying to encourage more residents to sign up for its new emergency alert system.

Ocean Springs $7,000-a year CodeRED system was implemented in September, but fewer than 2,000 people have signed up in this city of nearly 18,000, the Mississippi Press newspaper reports.

The system is an automated emergency notification service that allows the city to send phone calls, texts, emails and posts to social media to alert residents.

It has a weather warning system that automatically notifies residents of tornadoes, flash floods and severe thunderstorm warnings based on National Weather Service alerts. It can also send out alerts regarding traffic issues, water or power outages and events in town.

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The city contracted with the company OnSolve after a city-wide boil water notice was issued by the Mississippi Department of Health in July. Many residents later said they knew nothing about the notice.

“People said they didn’t know about the notice and that the city needed to do a better job of getting alerts out,” alderman Rob Blackman told the newspaper. “This was the best solution.”

Anyone with a cell phone, home phone or email can sign up for the alerts on the city website.

“Whatever the reason, we’re nowhere near where we want to be in terms of the number of people signed up,” Blackman said.