COLUMBIA COUNTY, N.Y. -- The massive TCI fire in Columbia County forced neighbors to evacuate their homes and many expressed concerns about how long it took information about the situation to reach them.
The county's board of supervisors has now approved a system that will get the word out faster for future emergencies.
Board members say "Code Red" gives Columbia County the ability to notify the public in a timely fashion, as other counties were able to do during the TCI fire. With the system, landline phone users will automatically be called and you can register for the service if you have a cell phone. Email alerts are also an option. Officials say it would cost an estimated $20,000 a year.
"You know what, Tom and the sheriff’s office, they didn’t drop the ball. The board of supervisors dropped the ball. In the past, we should have taken this issue seriously, we should have been able to provide the fund they needed to get this program up and running and unfortunately, we were looking at it before the event happened and now were taking that step to make sure we have it for the next event,” said Roy Brown, Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman.
An information booth will be available at the county fair next week to help spread the word.
If approved by the county's full board, 'Code Red' could take effect as soon as next week.