SARASOTA –– In advance of the 2020 hurricane season, Sarasota County is dropping the CodeRED notification system, and instead, launching a mass-notification system called Alert Sarasota County, hosted by Everbridge, as part of a partnership with the state of Florida, the cities of Sarasota, Venice, North Port and Town of Longboat Key.
“Coming together for this important collaboration with our local municipalities allows us to bring our community vital information about their safety in a timely manner,” Sarasota County Emergency Services Director Rich Collins said through a press release.
The county is switching to the new system now, Emergency Management Director Ed McCrane said because the contract with CodeRED will expire during the middle of hurricane season.
The switch to Everbridge came about as the Florida Division of Emergency Management signed a long-term contract with the company, and by partnering through the state will allow the county to save about $60,000 a year, McCrane added.
The city of Venice is currently transitioning to the new alert system and that transition will be complete by the end of the week, Frank Giddens, deputy chief for fire operations, said, adding that any issues city residents experienced while trying to register have been resolved.
Alert Sarasota County, the name of the new system will be used to communicate public health and safety topics affecting Sarasota County. Available alerts include severe weather, sewage spills, mosquito management and boil water notices.
Users can choose the types of alerts and how to receive them when registering their new account. These options can be changed at any time. Users can also sign up to receive a message when new types of alerts are available. Alert Sarasota County can send alerts to users via landline phone, cell phone, text message, email, TDD/TTY, smartphone app push notification, or a combination of these methods.
Users can sign up for alerts by registering with their home address. County and municipality alerts can differ. To start receiving alerts, sign up in the following ways:
- Download the free Everbridge mobile app. In the app, select “find organization or subscription,” type your jurisdiction in to the search bar and log in or register a new account.
- Create an account at com.
The app will also allow for alerts from surrounding cities and the county without the user having to sign up for additional alerts.
When signing up through alertsarasotacounty.com, users can enter their home address to the jurisdiction map to determine which jurisdiction’s alerts to receive.
“We’re very excited to team up with Sarasota County and our other municipal partners to launch this powerful reporting tool. Our residents will be informed like never before,” North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor said.
“We’re looking forward to the Everbridge system providing valuable, timely information for our citizens on a variety of critical issues via phone, text message and email,” Giddens added.
“In today’s world, it’s essential that we all take steps to improve our situational awareness and be prepared in case of emergency,” city of Sarasota Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering said. “Signing up for Alert Sarasota County is the best way for our residents to stay updated and informed about what’s happening in their community and ensure they’ll receive the critical information they need to know.”
“The most important thing we do is public safety, and timely emergency messaging is a critical component of keeping residents safe,” Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer said. “We appreciate the regional coordination to launch this robust emergency notification system. As a coastal barrier island, this is a critical tool in our emergency management toolbox,” he added.