CAS - Catawba County Community Alert System
A message from Emergency Services Director Bryan Blanton:
In an Emergency, Let Us Contact You.
Catawba County provides an alert system to allow the public to be contacted by phone, text, and e-mail in case of a large-scale emergency. The system may also be used to let you know of important and urgent situations such as utility service interruptions, public water contamination, bridge collapse, etc. The message would include information about where to go and what to do.
Catawba County has contracted with Emergency Communications Network, Inc. to use the CodeRED® system. To understand the Community Alert System, its purpose and how it works, you should read the Frequently Asked Questions before you register.
CATAWBA COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES WILL NOT SHARE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM THIS WEB SITE WITH ANY UNRELATED THIRD PARTY. YOUR PRIVACY IS IMPORTANT TO US.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Catawba County Community Alert System?
Catawba County provides an alert system to allow the public to be contacted by phone in case of a large-scale emergency. The system may also be used to let you know of important and urgent situations related to public safety.
The Community Alert System is intended to supplement, not replace, information you will receive from the media. Further, it should not replace individual and family emergency planning. For information on developing an emergency preparedness plan we suggest that you visit www.Ready.gov or www.RedCross.org.
What does the Community Alert System cost me?
The Community Alert System is free to residents of Catawba County. The County and your City Officials are working together to provide an efficient and effective way to communicate information related to public safety. Depending on your service provider, you may incur minor charges for a received cell phone call.
What type of alert messages will be sent?
Emergency messages would include but are not limited to alerts regarding hazardous material spills, acts of terrorism, major fires, floods and other weather-related emergencies. Urgent messages from your city officials may include but are not limited to alerts regarding utility service interruptions, public water contamination, major traffic disruptions. The message would include information and instructions about where to go, what to do, and contact numbers for further assistance.
Why don’t I get messages during tornado warnings or thunderstorms?
Catawba County does not issue Community Alert System messages during fast changing severe weather events such as tornadoes and thunderstorms. There are many publically available, reliable and accurate means of receiving severe weather information that citizens are encouraged to use such as NOAA Weather Radios, smart phone apps and local (Charlotte or Hickory) TV and radio stations.
Who calls me?
Catawba County has contracted with Emergency Communications Network, Inc. to use the CodeRED® system. In case of an emergency situation in your area a Catawba County Emergency Services employee will use the CodeRED® system to record a message and launch phone calls to you and your neighbors. The CodeRED® system may also be used by your city officials to alert you in case of something that affects your community such as a water contamination or an unplanned road closing.
What if I signed up, but wasn’t alerted?
There are several possible reasons why: someone else picked up your phone, you didn’t recognize the sender and deleted the message without reading it, your phone numbers have been changed since registration. These are reasons why we test the Community Alert System, so that residents can become familiar with it.
How should I respond to a Community Alert System message?
Listen carefully and follow the instructions. You will be able to replay the message and write down phone numbers and addresses. Contact the phone numbers provided within the message for more information. Do not call 911 for more information. In a public emergency situation the 911 dispatch will be very busy responding to individual emergency calls. They will not be able to answer questions related to the Community Alert Message.
Understandably, people want to know what is happening and what is being done during a public emergency. However, calling the Department of Emergency Services and 911 ties up phone lines and human resources that can best be used managing the emergency. During an emergency situation, the Department of Emergency Services will use the Community Alert System to provide ongoing information updates as circumstances change. One of the purposes of the Community Alert System is to provide timely and accurate information to citizens, freeing Emergency Services resources to appropriately manage the situation at hand.
The County’s website, www.catawbacountync.gov, will be updated as often as possible with additional information. Also, you should tune to local television and radio stations. Your emergency preparedness plan should include a battery-operated radio.
What if I miss the phone call?
CodeRED® includes a feature, Universal ANI, which utilizes Caller ID. If you miss the CodeRED® phone call, you may use your Caller ID to retrieve and listen to the message intended for your phone. Depending on your phone service, Universal ANI is identified on Caller ID as “Emergency Communications Network” or by the toll-free phone number 866-419-5000.
Will my contact information be shared or used by anyone else?
How many phone calls will I receive?
Your contact information will only be shared with our municipal partners, your city officials that may need to contact you regarding public safety issues. Your contact information will be treated as confidential information and will not be shared for telemarketing purposes.
There is the possibility that your city officials may use the system in the future to promote city sponsored events such as parades or street festivals, but that will require a second registration. Those types of phone calls will only be made to you at your request.
The Community Alert System is a tool to inform the public of public safety issues and emergencies, and the system may be tested a few times a year especially if you live in a flood zone or within the McGuire Nuclear Station 10-mile radius. The testing is important for the operators and for the public to become familiar with the system; it is part of emergency preparedness.
How can I be sure that my contact information is in the system?
CodeRED® is already equipped with many phone numbers in Catawba County, but to ensure that your home number and an alternate are included you should register. It only takes a few minutes. The CodeRED® system will automatically exclude duplicate phone numbers. Register your contact information, and do not be concerned that you are registering a number that may already be included.
Why do you need my address?
Most messages sent by the Community Alert System will not be countywide but rather to a small targeted area. CodeRED® links phone numbers to an address which is geo-coded into a map interface; this is what allows us to contact people living in a very specific area. We want to be respectful and considerate in our use of the system, only contacting those that need to receive the message.
Can I register more than one property?
You should register any property that you own in Catawba County. This allows a rented property to be registered by both the tenants and the landlord. Though CodeRED® allows duplicate addresses in the system, it will not allow duplicate phone numbers. If you are registering a second property such as a lake-house or rental, you will need to use a phone number unique to the property and not the phone number associated with your principle residence in Catawba County. If you have a spouse or partner, you may consider registering one cell phone to your residence and one cell phone to the second property.
Can I receive the message by e-mail instead of the phone?
CodeRED® can send e-mail and text messages in addition to phone messages. If you would like to receive CAS messages via e-mail, please include your address on the registration page. Because the Community Alert System is designed for urgent communication, e-mails are supplemental and do not replace phone calls.
What if I don’t want to be included in the Community Alert System?
The Community Alert System is a tool to inform the public of public safety issues and emergencies. However, you may elect to be included on a “Do Not Call List”. To do so, you must sign a waiver releasing the county and city from the responsibility of informing you about urgent or emergency situations. To obtain this form please call the Catawba County Emergency Services office at 828-465-8230.
How should I prepare for a public emergency?
We strongly encourage every household to develop an emergency plan. Your plan should include supplies to last at least three days including water, food, and medical supplies. If your household includes a special needs person, you can contact Catawba County Emergency Services office to request a Special Needs Registry Application form. You can find more detailed information on developing an emergency preparedness plan at www.Ready.gov or www.RedCross.org.
Is my cell phone reliable in a major emergency?
In an emergency, your cell phone is only as reliable as your carrier’s network. This is why we encourage you to register an alternate way for us to contact you with alert information.