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Branson to drop CodeRed

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Posted: Friday, December 7, 2012 2:10 pm

Though it’s not noted as the primary reason for a change, the city of Branson is moving on from the emergency notification system that did not notify many residents ahead of the Leap Day tornado.

Instead, officials noted ease of use and additional features not currently provided by CodeRed.

“They have been top of the line in terms of meeting our specifications, but have also provided several challenges including contract management and the failure of the system during the tornado event in February,” Fire Chief Ted Martin wrote in a memo to the board of aldermen.

The city will now switch to Everbridge to handle emergency notifications.

Martin said that company had been the second choice in past years, but because it then lacked automated weather warnings, it wasn’t the best option.

He said they have since added that feature.

“Over the past several weeks, we have had Everbridge provide online demonstrations for me, as well as Sean Barnwell and Becky Bacon from the police department,” Martin wrote. “(Barnwell) is impressed from the software side and (Bacon) the operational side, especially for her dispatchers.

“CodeRed takes a great deal of time to launch messages and Everbridge takes a matter of seconds.”

Among the additional items Everbridge offers are:

• An easy “confirm and quit” feature in which residents can notify the city they’ve received the message and won’t continue to get repeated notifications

• A polling ability that would allow the city to quickly check with residents to see what kind of assistance is needed

• Conference call capability

• Caller ID

• Ownership of the data in the system

• Unlimited log-in assignments for city staff, as opposed to the current limit of eight

Resident will have to sign up again for the new system, but the city is planning to notify users in several ways.

Approximately 900 residents who had signed up for the CodeRed service did not receive warnings in February before the tornado.

The city’s 2011 contract with the company had expired while Branson sought to organize a countywide system. After that fell through, they renewed the contract in January.

The company said it would take 30 days to get all the numbers back into the system. The tornado hit 31 days after the contract was renewed.

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