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Columbia County To Provide "Reverse 9-1-1"

Residents of Columbia County will soon have a Reverse 9-1-1 system in place... the new notification technology will be deployed as soon as possible. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

This week the Columbia County Board of Supervisors agreed to implement a new CodeRed emergency notification system. Although widely reported as "a response to the TCI chemical fire in Ghent" - Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Tom Lanphear says plans were in the works before the fire broke out.

County officials say CodeRed will cost nearly 22-thousand dollars a year in a three-year contract with Florida-based vendor Emergency Communications Network (ECN).

Renssealaer County Executive Kathy Jimino says Reverse 9-1-1 proved invaluable during the TCI fire crisis. Columbia County officials had to use mainstream and social media to disseminate information. Lieutennat Lanphear says the issue of NOT having Reverse 9-1-1 came to a head in the wake of the fire, especially when residents learned surrounding counties employed the technology during the emergency. He says CodeRed is being programmed now with existing 9-1-1 data and he is asking residents for additional information.

The county is purchasing an unlimited emergency package along with a weather warning system. Lanphear is looking into obtaining state and federal reimbursements for the cost of the system. The supervisors have scheduled a board meeting next week to finalize the agreement with ECN.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.