by HOLLY SCHOENSTEIN | REPORTER
Tallmadge — Anyone who lives or works in Tallmadge now has the option of getting severe weather alerts by text message.
Through the CodeRED service, the city provides free Early Weather Warning Notifications for severe thunderstorms, flash floods and tornadoes. Until recently, alerts were only sent via phone calls to cellular or landlines.
According to Lloyd Alger, information technology administrator for the city, users of the service now have the option to sign up to receive the alerts by text message and email.
They also can choose to get winter storm warnings, which are available only by text message and email.
Although the city provides this service for free, users may incur charges from their cellular providers.
Alger said since the city first offered this service in April of 2011, many subscribers and city employees have requested the alerts also be sent via text and email.
“We signed up with CodeRED with the promise that text- and email-based services would be provided in the future,” he said.
More than 2,000 people are participating in the service, and the city expects many of them to opt for text or email alerts. In addition, the city anticipates a few hundred new subscribers to sign up for the service.
“It has been a fairly popular service and adding text/email messaging will make it even more so. Its unique ability to specifically warn only those in the direct path of the storm has been very helpful,” he added.
Because the service alerts only when users are likely to be directly affected by severe weather, the messages may not coincide with the early warning sirens that sound if the county has received a tornado warning.
The service only applies to severe weather warnings and not watches.
“To keep it simple, we’ve told residents that if you are notified by CodeRED of a severe weather alert, that you should take the warning seriously as the warning is designed specifically for you and the address you registered in the system,” Alger said.
To sign up for alerts by text and email, go to www.tallmadge-ohio.org and click on the “CodeRED” icon at the bottom left of the webpage. Residents then are to enter their name, address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses and select which alerts they wish to receive and how they’d like to receive them.
For residents who don’t have Internet access but have mobile phones, the city provides a call-in service. To sign up, call 330-633-7578 and provide the information when prompted by the automated system. A test call will be made to confirm the subscription.
“We do want to remind residents that this is only one available form of early notification for severe weather alerts,” Alger said. “Local TV stations, weather radios and other forms of mass media also have the ability to notify residents of impending inclement weather.”