Automated systems help in severe weather -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Automated systems help in severe weather

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March 4, 2008

Thomasville-- Hundreds of phones in Grady county homes rang around 5:30 Tuesday morning with a weather alert: "A tornado watch has been issued for Grady and surrounding counties." 

The CodeRed System is brand new to Grady county, but they're not the only ones enlisting the help of automated phone systems.

"It will allow us to broadcast literally thousands of phone calls within just a matter of minutes," said Dr. Scott James, Director of Research & Accountability for the Thomas County School System.  They'll soon start using a service called Alert Now.

"On March 10th at 6 p.m., all of our principals will be making a test call, and then after that text call we will be using it for everyday operations," James explained. 

It can be used for everything from letting parents know report cards are coming home, to more serious matters.  "Its also convenient for things like [Tuesday] when we have some bad weather that we might want to alert them about if we have some bad weather as far as what we plan to do through the course of the day," said Elaine Barrett, Assistant Principal at Cross Creek Elementary.

If they need to hold buses because of severe weather, they can use the system for that too.  "There are times where that does happen, and that would be a tremendous help because I get a lot of calls in the afternoon from parents wondering where their kids are," said Barrett.

"This is an automated system. It will take one phone call on our end, and then basically the computer does the rest," said James.  But the system is only as good as its contact information, so school administrators urge parents to make sure their's is up to date.  

 If your child's school uses a system like this, and your contact information has recently changed, be sure to contact the school to update your info.